Friday, February 27, 2009

The Beginning of Writing Careers

“It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” - Lucille Ball

I was slow to throw myself into the writing arena. Though I recognized that writing made me happy from a very early age, I didn’t complete my first manuscript until I had finally run out of excuses and reasons not to sit down and write on a daily basis. I decided to satisfy my curiosity and find out when or how other authors embarked on their writing careers.

According to the web site of Nora Roberts, her career was born during a blizzard in 1979. “She was snowed in with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate. Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn't reading or making up stories. During the now famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born.”

In, On Writing, Stephen King tells of the time when he was six and copied a story from a comic book. He showed it to his mother who then encouraged him to write a story of his own. He did. In fact, he wrote four stories and his mother paid him a quarter each. Obviously, he was paid for his writing at a much earlier age than most of us.

According to Chevron, as a young man, Theodor Seuss Geisel worked for an oil company writing ads that consisted of cartoon drawings of people. This began his love for writing and drawing. In 1937, while on a trip, he was inspired to write his first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. He used the name Dr. Seuss, because he wanted to use his real name for more serious books. Seuss was his middle name, and he put Dr. in front of it because his father always wanted him to be a doctor.

From, J. K. Rowling wrote her first story, Rabbit, about a rabbit with measles, at age five or six. Later, she tried her hand at writing novels, for adults. But she never finished writing any novel before she wrote the Harry Potter books. The idea for Harry occurred to her while she was stuck on a delayed train between Manchester and London.

Roald Dahl, according became popular among Washington's rich and famous for the wild yarns he would spin about his RAF adventures. He wrote a story called Gremlin Lore about the mythical creatures that supposedly sabotaged RAF planes. Since he was a serving officer, Dahl was required to submit everything he wrote for approval by British Information Services. The officer who read it, Sidney Bernstein, decided to pass it along to his good friend Walt Disney, who was looking for War–related features for his fledgling film company. Disney decided to turn Dahl's story into an animated feature called "The Gremlins."

Readers, do you know how your favorite author started out? Authors, when and why did you decide to pursue a writing career?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Lucille Ball, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, Rowling, Dahl,


Marvin D. Wilson said...

I didn't start writing with the intent to publish until in my mid-fifties. It was a God thing for me. I had just recovered from a horrible narcotics addiction, due to a powerful spiritual experience and my first book, I Romanced the Stone was my way of "giving back." Then I just fell in love with writing and publishing and decided to make a golden years career out of it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Intersting beginnings!

And it is never to late to start, Jane - I just posted an interview on my site with author Prill Boyle and her book about late bloomers.

I read ALL THE TIME as a child but did not tackle writing until I was 12-13 years old. Two books inspired me to do this - Richard Adams' "Watership Down" and Anne McCaffrey's "The White Dragon." I wrote like a maniac after that, but did not pursue publication until late 30's.

L. Diane Wolfe

Morgan Mandel said...

I started writing seriously after a program at the local library when I discovered that authors were real people too.

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Parra said...

I wrote my first book at age 10- a pioneer story. By age 13, I was writing Star Trek fan fic and time travels...Still, I thought I should be an engineer-until my Jr. year of college and a creative writing class where the "grownups" kept telling me to do this for a living.

Great Blog! Love everyone's stories.

Christine Rose said...

I wrote a skits and scripts when I was about 12. An undergrad professor once told me I couldn't write. Unfortunately, I believed him for the next 15 years. I'd dabble in screenplays, because I didn't think I could write prose. It was the other way around. I'm horrible at screenwriting, but I'm not too bad (turns out) at writing narrative prose. :-D With the help and support of my amazing husband, our collective strengths outweighing each of our weaknesses, we wrote an award-winning YA fantasy novel. :-D

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world