When I was about seven or eight years old, my brother, already in college, brought home his first computer for the summer. And he let me use it! (He is a very good big brother )
So there I sat for hours, painfully searching for one letter at a time, weaving together my first unassigned stories. It was quite marvelous.
He dutifully saved them all on a floppy disk and printed them out when he went back to college. And he sent those prints to me. (Did I mention that he did a really good job at being a big brother?)
I was delighted. My stories. All neatly typed and printed. I was ready to start working on a book now. But when I left the stories on the counter for the rest of my family to enjoy, I got one pat on the back and a few shoulder shrugs. That was it. Horribly underwhelming. And I wasn’t ready for that. I was ready for a little parade and a book contract…
So my stories stayed in my head for a while, making it here and there on paper – for nobody but me to enjoy. Until, that was, I had children. And my children needed stories. And the stories in my head started to tumble out and didn’t want to sit back anymore. And so I started to tell. And to write. And to share.
And the beauty was that I no longer needed a parade. Or a book contract (even though that would be really nice). What I got from telling and writing and sharing my stories was enough. I started to ignore shoulder shrugs and welcomed critiques. I wanted to get better. And, at the same time, I didn’t need to please anymore. I didn’t need to gain confidence from my stories because creating those stories gave me confidence.
And that’s when I knew that I had found my creative outlet.