The founder of NaNoWriMo sent an e-mail yesterday asking writers, “Who encouraged your writing when you were a kid?” The reason for the question is because the NaNoWriMo organization is in the process of raising funds for the Young Writers Program. The e-mail caught my attention because of the question, and it got me thinking about when writing became important to me.
The first thing that came to my mind was 7th grade English class with Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith had been teaching a long time—so long, in fact, that he would sometimes distribute copies that had purple ink (mimeograph, I believe it’s called?). There was no technology in the classroom, and he still wrote everything up on a chalkboard rather than a whiteboard. We had assigned seats—alphabetical, of course—and we stayed in those seats the entire school year. While the class wasn’t very stimulating, I kind of loved it because it was easy! I sat in the back row (one of the joys of having a last name that started with a “W”) and wrote stories in a notebook while Mr. Smith talked. This is when I really started writing complete stories and got interested in putting my own ideas on to paper. While Mr. Smith himself wasn’t actively encouraging me to write, his class period did provide me with the time to write.
When it comes to more active encouragement, I think my mom was always supportive of the things that I wrote. She thought my 7th grade science lab report about a frog dissection was so funny that she sent copies to relatives! I also made her a book for Christmas when I was younger based on the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” that made her laugh so hard, she cried! In college, I made her another book based on a family inside-joke. I made it into a hard cover book using Blurb. Several other family members decided they wanted copies of it as well.
While I sometimes feel embarrassed about writing and reluctant to share it, the truth is, my family has always been supportive of my writing. Now, I just need to get brave enough to share more of it!
So who encouraged your writing?