Monday, April 10, 2006

What I Have to Do

How many careers did you go through before you finally allowed yourself to write fiction?

For me, it was years of sales and retail management. I even went to college to major in business, but then I discovered…the humanity and liberal art courses. Those classes were so much more fascinating to me than business law, accounting, and economics! I’d come home from class, excited to discuss the Greek myths, philosophers, diverse religions, and history with my husband. So many cool stories to tell him about! Yet when I came home from a business class, he’d ask what I’d learned, and at the risk of sounding like a fourth grader, I’d shrug and say, “Nuthin’.”

Then one fall semester, I came down with pneumonia and dropped out until the spring semester. Being ill gave me time to evaluate in what direction my career was headed and whether I really wanted to go there. I knew I needed something else, something creative. And it was at that time that I found it in a box of old journals and keepsakes I had packed away after I’d graduated high school (I had decided I needed to grow up and get a “real” job). Inside the yellowed pages of my journals, I rediscovered my love of writing fiction. Writing was where I belonged, what I had to do.

It took me all of five seconds to figure out that I needed to change my major to English and focus on creative writing. And my husband, bless him, didn’t even bat an eye when I told him. That doesn’t mean I didn’t work, too, but I’d finally allowed myself to write fiction in my spare time, which made me a happy camper. Of course, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I write full time now.

So what about you guys? When did you allow yourself to write fiction?