Friday, March 11, 2016 | By: Lisa LaMendola

How Long Have You Been Writing?

I was asked today how long I have been writing. It feels like forever. I think as soon as I learned to write I was putting words into a story. Those stories continued over the years into writing articles, books, poems, and even collaborating as a ghostwriter for someone who didn't have the stamina for writing her own book. In truth, I think all writers start young, but don't always 'become' the writers they hope to be until later in life. 
It's not that they leave writing behind. In fact some have win awards, contests, or like me do writing projects for their employer.  It's finding the time in the chaotic world we live in to not forget our dreams. My dreams were inspired at the age of 17, when I took third place in a writing contest for Mademoiselle Magazine. 
My entry was a short story about how a set of Australian twins found each other after being adopted by different families. One twin has Leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant, while the other twin just happens to be on the donor list. The story shows the bond of blood and marrow between two souls and how they came to be together to celebrate life before it ends. 
I never would have entered the contest, but my English Literature teacher insisted I consider it after she gave me an A+ on the writing assignment I wrote it for. She even gave me an stamped envelope to encourage me to follow through. So the next day in typing class (yes I'm that old), I created a professional looking copy and submitted it. I never told anyone because I never expected to win. When the letter came my mother asked if I had signed up for something, and I told her it had to do with a writing assignment for my class.  However, when I pulled out a check for $50 I had to fess up!  She was very proud of me and even bought the magazine when it came out, only to realize that only the first place winner was published with the second and third place winners given a short mention and synopsis of their story. 
My copy of that magazine is long gone, but it gave me the inspiration to continue writing whenever I could. It also taught me not to get attached to who I was writing for, which in turn has helped me write for others. Taking a theme or an idea and building a whole new world around it is incredibly exciting. However, it's not that I’m detached from what I write, because I certainly am while I am doing it.  I give my work everything I have, and then some.  However, it's that I'm detached from the final outcome. If it becomes a published piece, that's great, but if it doesn't I'm OK with that too.  There's another writing project sitting on my desk waiting for my attention.
The importance of writing anything is thissomeone will read it. Which means someone will be moved by it in some way, and that is what a writer does. Move's his audience. First to think and then to do someone about what they are thinking. So if you are getting into writing for the first time, or again later in life, go ahead and get attached to what you're writing, but detach yourself from the final outcome of the article itself. Then you will truly understand just how many people you can move with your words. 


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