When I was eight, I took up a dull pencil and a steno pad I’d been using for drawings, and I began my first short story. While I don’t remember much about the story’s premise, I do remember being surprised. Never before had I felt the thrill of creating characters, plot, and setting and making words do more than narrate. I’d written reports, journal entries, and poems, but this connection–this excitement–was something I’d never anticipated.

That was when I first said I wanted to be a writer. Somewhere in my young soul I knew I could not do without this sensation. So I began paying more attention to my creative writing assignments. Entered a contest or two. Scribbled sense and nonsense. Took writing courses. Analyzed books. Took more courses. Submitted articles. Penned my first novel. Then my second. On and on the course of events goes until now I write every day. And, yes, that wonderment still sneaks up and surprises me.

Writing, like many art forms, is often described as a compulsion. While that’s true, I have to say it’s more than that. As Elie Wiesel said, “I write to understand as much as to be understood.” For me, when I’m weaving words, it’s like taking sunglasses off a mind that’s been squinting to see purpose. That’s more than a compulsion; it’s a necessity of life.

What fills you with wonderment and purpose? What keeps you up late and wakes you up early? I’m so thankful I found mine all those years ago. My life hasn’t been normal since.

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