How I Became a Writer

I think I have always been a writer. I have always written. But I don’t think I understood myself as such, until a few years ago, when I decided that writing books for kids was the medium I wanted to use my writing for.

As a kid, at least in school, I hated writing. I loved reading. But I HATED writing. I didn’t like book reports, I didn’t like writing essays, I didn’t like creative writing. I don’t think I got any praise from my teachers for my writing ability, only that I wasn’t good at it. But, I think I wanted to be good at it.

I distinctly remember as a kid, a young kid, hearing or reading something to the effect, that if you wanted to be a better writer, you should keep a journal. So I began keeping a journal. From the age of ten all the way into my twenties. It became less of a getting better at writing though, and more of a place to share my thoughts.

I remember feeling so trapped as a kid. Within myself, within my family, within the place I lived. The journals I kept, allowed me some semblance of freedom, to live beyond my current circumstances. I cringe reading them now. But they did allow for that escape. And maybe on some level, helped me become a better writer.

Once I moved into graduate school and my first jobs, I was always writing little things down. Thoughts that I had, ideas, sayings that I heard. Bits of inspiration to save for a rainy day. I began having serious thoughts of being a writer in my mid-twenties. But I just had no idea what kind of writer to be. I didn’t think I could create fictional stories. I wasn’t disciplined enough for non-fiction research. And though, I enjoyed stream of consciousness, commentary type writing- and frankly, still enjoy that, I didn’t know if there was an actual place for that, or if my words even mattered. So it became something I still did, but only for myself.

Before I left Los Angeles, I created a website, with the goal of posting my writing, because that is what I wanted to do. But I didn’t really keep at it. I moved to New York, still in the back of my mind, wanting to be a writer, but not knowing how to make it happen.

Fast forward a couple years later, I got the idea to write for kids. Maybe it was because I was once again surrounded by them working as a substitute teacher, maybe because I was around my young nieces and kids of my friends.

In any case, I realized that writing for kids was something I could do. Could share my thoughts, my view of the world, my experiences, in a way that made me feel seen and heard for the first time. And if my words could make me feel that way, maybe, they could do that for the readers— the young kids that I write for. The me as a kid that I write for.

Order A Walk Through the Redwoods

If you loved this book review, you might also enjoy my debut picture book, A Walk Through the Redwoodsillustrated by Natalia Bruno. You can order it now from your favorite bookstore: Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble.