“How I Became a Writer” written by: Victoria Fillmore
Everyone’s story is a bit different. Some had that one amazing teacher that changed their life while some had a defining “Ah Ha” moment when they realized that–yes–they are a writer. For me, it took me years to have that “Ah Ha” moment and many more years after that to find that one teacher who saw my talent and tried to help me nurture it. But that isn’t my entire story. So read on, and learn how I, a published author, got to this point in my life.
When I was in fourth grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Heefner. I can’t even recall if that’s how you spell his last name, but I really could care less. He never liked me because he didn’t understand me. He did a lot of things wrong in the times he taught me (Fourth Grade, and Sixth Grade Math) but there is one thing Mr. Heefner did right–whether he liked it or not. By state standards, I had to take the TAKS test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills). In fourth grade and in eleventh grade, there’s a creative writing portion. So for half of my fourth-grade year, I was forced to put pen to paper and write story after story to ready myself for the test at the end of the year.
I hated it. I hated it with a burning passion. My handwriting was illegible thanks to Dysgraphia, and no one told us I had it until it was far too late to take action. So I struggled to write and rewrite stories with pencil and paper–erasing to the point my erasers ran out or tore the paper.
At one point I finally got accommodations to type on the computer. I had been learning to type thanks to Computer Skill labs, but I was nervous. However, the moment I sat down and came up with an idea, I typed it, I read it over and printed it out. Mr. Heefner would read over it, tell me what to fix, and let me get back to work. It was probably the happiest time for me that year. Sitting at the computer and typing what was in my head so effortlessly onto the screen.
But after this, we didn’t write stories. I still tried too, but it was pushed out of my system by the time I finished Elementary school and entered Middle School.
Though, by the chance of pure dumb luck when I was taking Seventh Grade Texas History, I had an idea–a stupid one now that I think of it, but an idea. My very first “Ah Ha!” moment. I wrote my first synopsis–during Spreak Break I made a makeshift desk to write this story. Then during the summer I sat at my mother’s computer and wrote the 1-page per 20-chaptered story. I cringe when I think of it. But people thought it was good.
During my teen years, I did the inevitable–I wrote horrible fan fiction. But somehow, I still had a following. I did this until I was sixteen, and by that time I had found a character that needed my help. She needed me to write her story. Her name was Isabel. Now I know her as Bea, but she needed to grow up as I did. We grew up and went through everything together. The more I learned, the more she learned in return.
Now at 22, I’m still writing her story. The only difference? I’m not doing it because it’s my last dying wish. I’m doing it because I’m a published author, and I got her a series. My sixteen-year-old-self is cheering with joy as I try to scramble to finish the revised draft for her second book so I can start the editorial process. I’m so blessed to have had this chance.
So I may not have had the right teachers to help me, but I had something else. Something better–I had faith.