Once upon a time I won my third grade speech competition. Technically I think there was a four way tie, but that's besides the point. The point is that the topic of our speeches was "what you want to be when you grow up." That answer was easy for third grade me. I wanted to be an author. Ever since I stapled together a few pages about a family of tigers, I knew I wanted to have that feeling over and over again.
So, I gave my speech (heavy on the Roald Dahl quotes), collected my participation trophy, and went on my way. I wrote a lot when I was a kid. In journals, a few more stapled books, but as it too often happens, the habit fell by the wayside. High school and college happened and most of my time was consumed with sports, concerts, studying, and friends. Writing wasn't a real thing anyway.
I graduated with a degree in education and embarked out into the world of teaching. I love teaching. I get to teach young kids how to read and share so many cool things about our world. I wouldn't take that back.
But I wish I would have realized sooner that it's not one or the other. You do not have to be just one thing when you grow up. You do not just have to do the job because it pays the bills. Okay, maybe you have to do the bill-paying thing, but what I mean is that I should have been writing this whole time.
A few years ago I got back into it. I joined SCBWI and met up with local writing groups. I have approximately 10 works in progress and I never know if that's too many or not nearly enough. Some weeks I write a lot, some weeks have more of a Netflix vibe.
Last September a piece of my writing was published for the first time. I wrote a poem called IN MY YARD and submitted it to Root & Star Magazine. I still can't believe that I can open it up and see my piece in front of me. The feeling is just the same as it was when I stapled those notebook pages together. I hesitated to call myself an author until I had something in print. But, really, I've been one all along.