I have always loved to write. At school if you had given me a choice between writing a short story and playing sport I would definitely have chosen to pick up a pen. Who influenced me in my early years? What inspires me today? What keeps me fired up to continue writing? Read on for the answers.
Pre-school days My mother used to read to me at bedtime. My grandmother told me stories she had made up. I was brought up with the love of books and stories. When I was young my favourite author was Enid Blyton, back before she went out of favour .When I was seven or eight years old I aspired to be an author 'like Enid Blyton'.
Primary School days From the time I could hold a pencil I have enjoyed expressing myself via the written word. Yes, I was that nerd who loved composition lessons in primary school.
I also wrote stories and poems in my spare time at home. I enjoyed making little books. Last year I ran into a woman who lived near me when I was a child and we hadn't seen each other in about 45 years. She is a few years younger than me. She said I made a book for her and that she still has it in a box somewhere in the shed.
I sent letters and some of my stories to Possum's Pages, a children's section in the Sunday Mail. Whenever anything of mine was printed I got very excited. Even though I have done lots of decluttering I still have some of the stories, discoloured by time. Yes, I have the certificates too.
Image by Marie Vonow
Secondary School days At secondary school I enjoyed English lessons. I particularly enjoyed it when we were given a topic that could be interpreted in an imaginative way.
Writing poetry was something I particularly liked. A few of my poems were printed in the annual school magazine. I still have those magazines.
I must make special mention of Mr Murray, the English teacher I had in third year and again in Matric. He once told me to never give up writing poetry. His words of encouragement have always stayed with me.
I was involved in the production of our school magazines and enjoyed being co-editor in my final year at school.
Later years I have continued to enjoy writing whether it be poetry, short stories, essays at uni, articles or letters. Letter writing has always been important in my family. Mum and I exchanged letters on a regular basis until shortly before her passing. Even today in these times of email, several of my cousins and I communicate mostly by snail mail.
In the late eighties a friend and I wrote articles on environmental issues for our local newspaper.
When my second son was a baby I did a correspondence writing course which covered various forms of writing and was very helpful. This led to me getting a few articles published in magazines.
Hub Garden About three years ago I came across Hub Garden and started submitting my work to numerous hubs. I get a great deal of satisfaction creating articles for Hub Garden.
Some of the great things about writing for Hub Garden include-
The wide variety of topics I can write about
Feedback and support from editors
Comments from readers
The feeling of community from being involved
Being able to use my own images where suitable
Much, much easier to get articles published than through a magazine
An article is published soon after it is submitted, unlike a magazine where publication can take several months
Being able to promote articles through social media
These things all keep me fired up to keep writing.
What inspires me to sit down and write an article or poem? Kim McMillen wrote, 'When I loved myself enough I started writing about my life and views because I knew this was my right and my responsibility.'
Everyday events can inspire me and these include -
Even though the members of the writers' group I am a part of are working on different projects we share ideas and encourage each other. We have a weekly writing prompt and homework to keep us writing. This group is different to the previous writers' group I belonged to but both provide support and encouragement.
When I haven't written for a few days I miss it and can't wait to open up my laptop. Writing is something I need to do to express myself and it gives me a great deal of pleasure. To express themselves some people paint, some create pottery or do quilting but I write.