My Writerly Timeline
January 24, 2011 § 9 Comments
In response to this post over on ‘What Not To Do as a Writer’, I present my writerly timeline. AKA, how the hell did I get into this endless round of self-flagellation and spiralling despair anyway?
Age 7: Received cute unicorn sticker from headteacher for a poem I wrote about poverty. I recall this because I kept it for a long time afterwards. Sad.
Age 11: Received an assignment from English teacher to write a story based on a Greek myth. I chose Theseus and the Minotaur. Got carried away and presented my teacher with about fifteen pages, written both sides.
Age 12: Won essay cup at nightmare prep school because I was way behind in class, but the one thing I did with more enthusiasm and ability than anything (and anyone) else was writing stories and essays.
Age 14-15: Came to love English exams because they gave me one hour to write a short story based on one of three or four provided prompts. I still do this just for fun. (No… I really do).
Age 16-17: Through boredom, isolation and general misery I turned to fantasy world-building big time. I still have all those hand-drawn maps I created back then. In fact I’m still planning to finish that plot I came up with someday.
Age 18: Encouraged by writerly parent to think of writing as something I actually could do. Subsequently began long apprenticeship writing short fiction. Should I hate you or worship you for that, Dad? Still undecided.
Age 22: Took a creative writing course with the Open University, received distinction. Encouraged by this to submit a story to a fiction magazine for the first time. Got it published. Looking back, this was probably the real beginning of the end for me.
Age 26: Taking a more advanced creative writing course with the OU. Still submitting stories. Drowning under rejections. Currently approximately 21,476 words in on what will be my first completed novel.
The story so far. I’ll update this timeline again in a few years, shall I, and see whether I’ve ended up in writerly heaven or writerly hell – or, as is most likely, some weird amalgamation of the two.
Interesting note: did I ever talk much about any of this outside of my own family? Not really. I can think of various friends and acquaintances who are reading these blog posts now and saying… Charlotte’s a writer? I never knew. Why did I do that?