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I’ve Always Been a Writer

pencilA little while ago I was reading a Facebook post by a former writing student of mine (she’s now a successful and wonderful romance author) and something she said made me start thinking about when I knew I wanted to be a writer. It’s a question I’ve often been asked, right up there with “where do you get your ideas?” Usually the question is asked wistfully by someone who’s dreamed of making writing her career, too. Thing is, people don’t really become writers. All the writers I know have pretty much been writing forever. We didn’t think about wanting to do it, we just did it because we couldn’t NOT do it.

As a kid, from the moment I learned to read, I wrote — plays, poems, fairy tales, animal tales. I loved making up stories. I loved telling stories, too. My mother was always saying, “Patricia, quit exaggerating!” She didn’t understand that embellishing something made it more interesting.

I still remember one of my first poems:

I wish I was a pencil,
So straight and thin and tall.
Then I could write and write all day,
And never get tired at all.

I thought it was brilliant.

When I got to high school, I wrote a column for an imaginary school paper called The Tattler. All my friends starred in the stories. In my senior year I was the editor of my class yearbook and wrote much of the copy. In both high school and college my favorite assignments involved researching and writing reports. Sometimes I got carried away and the “report” ended up being an opinion piece, but that’s another story. As a young married woman I wrote a column about neighborhood news for a local newspaper (I later went to work at the paper). And I wrote letters. Lots and lots of letters. The year we spent in Sweden (my husband’s company sent him there to work) I chronicled our experiences in long letters to my best friend, letters she put in a binder for me. And all through those years I yearned to write a book. The only reason I didn’t start actually doing it until I was almost 50 years old is because I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say. I wasn’t a lawyer or a doctor or a detective. I was just a housewife. It wasn’t until I realized that I knew about life, about relationships, about love in all its forms that I began to write my first book. That book, called LOVE’S CHOICE, was pretty awful and it never sold, but I loved writing it. In fact, once I started, no one could have stopped me. Four years and five finished novels later, I sold my first book, CINDERELLA GIRL. Last month, OH, BABY!, my 51st published novel, was released by Harlequin.

The answer to the question is, I’ve always been a writer.

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