Friday, March 3, 2017

Planting A Writing Seed

Did you ever wonder who planted the writing seed within you? Maybe it wasn't who but what. How long ago did it happen? How old were you? Were you aware of that tiny seed being planted, that minuscule seed that gave you the desire to put words together in a logical and beautiful way for the pleasure of others?

These are all questions that probably have few answers. Yes, there are writers who can cite chapter and verse as to when they knew they wanted to be a writer. Even those people probably had a seed planted when they were unaware it was being done.

For me, it could have been when my parents started to read to me. I've mentioned in other posts that the first book that I remember was about Mr. Flibbertyjibbet. Maybe the seed was planted in first grade when I learned to read from the Dick and Jane series. Even at that tender age, I marveled at the way letters created words and words made stories that enchanted me. I fell in love with words as a young child and the romance continues to this very day. I think I must thank my first grade teacher, Miss Curto, for planting the seed by introducing me to letters, words and stories.

If anyone had told me to pursue a writing career or hobby when I was ten, I'd probably have giggled and shaken my head. As much as I loved reading, the thought of being a professional writer would have been a joke to me then. Even though I liked writing stories in school and I loved listening to the stories one of my friends wrote. Jeanne wrote western fiction stories when only twelve, I'd be her audience as she read them aloud with great gusto. She never asked for a critique. Nope. Instead, she'd say, "You loved it, didn't you?" And what could I say but "Yes!" She had a creative mind then. I've often wondered if she ever did become a writer. She moved far away and we lost touch.

By the time I was in junior high, that little seed began to sprout. English was my favorite class. I didn't mind the grammar exercises like some of the other kids did and I loved any writing assignment we were given. That feeling increased as I went through high school and college. While others struggled with college papers, I relished the assignments. So, yes, I think the writing seed was planted when I was very young and it sprouted in my teen and young adult years. Even so, it did not come to full bloom until I was middle-aged. Desire mixed with a bit of fear and a busy life kept me from allowing myself to try my hand as a writer who hoped to be published someday.

Perhaps you, who are writers, will have an opportunity to plant the writing seed into a small child--your own, a grandchild, a niece or nephew or children whom you teach in a grade school. It will take root with some but not all. It must be done subtly, not a constant pounding. Introduce children to books at a very early age. Make sure they have access to books. Encourage story writing as soon as the child can create words on that big-lined paper used in the early grades.

As a classroom teacher (long ago) I often had 3rd and 4th graders write a story together on a large storyboard. They enjoyed being able to add to the story and to watch it grow, sentence by sentence. And yes, we removed some and changed others. I wonder if I planted a writing seed in any of my students. I hope so. Maybe later, when they were ready, it sprouted and grew.

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