Writing has been a passion of mine as far back as I can remember. In my early teens, I wrote stories in notebooks and when I finished one, I went on to the next one. I would fill up a spiral notebook with one story. As I recall, they were mostly about college life. I was in junior high and high school at the time. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading. The fact that a person could write something down, and it could be written in a book for others to read and enjoy, and these books were housed in a place called a library, really fascinated me.
After earning a Master’s degree. and while I earned the ED.S., I taught students who were fourth and fifth grade learning disabled students. The reading books that were required for them were the same for the general education population, but during that time, there was a tendency of some teachers to implement a different curriculum for children who were learning disabled.These strategies were designed to improve the students’ learning ability so that they could learn to read, write and do all the things the general education students were doing. The problem was that the program was year long, and year after year, the students got farther and farther behind. So, I ditched all that and taught them reading, and all the other things that the general education students were learning.
When my classes began their reading program, they hardly knew any words. I used to tell them stories that I would make up on the spot that was designed to help them with vocabulary, comprehension, and the other concepts they needed to learn to read. They asked me if my stories were written down. I went home and wrote some stories for them and those stories we used in place of the books. That was when I began to look at writing as not just something to write and tuck away. The students were enjoying the stories (I have to add that they were really lacking and if I were to have them critiqued, I would need to revise them all) and I could see that I needed to take writing seriously.
One day my students told me that my stories sounded like “the real stories in a real bookstore.” That was the beginning of my writing career.