This is a question I had to think about before I could answer it. I knew when I started writing. I knew many things which influenced my writing. But why did I start? What pushed me that way?
And then I knew, in an odd sort of way.
When I was young, we moved every few months. We leapt from house-to-house, and school-to-school so that I was rarely anywhere for more than a few months. It seems as though I was perpetually the new kid in school, dealing with changed classes and expectations, different teachers and reminding everyone I was not Liz. (Though for awhile I even gave up on that part.)
Writing assignments in class generally went well for me. They won a bit of praise I wasn't used to getting. I started writing more. Some of the kids liked to read the stories.
This was something I could do; something that didn't require I be in a certain time or place, and didn't require anyone else to work with me. It was mine alone. It was, really, the first thing I had that no one else could claim.
So I wrote; I created stories through grade school and all the way through graduation from high school. By then, of course, writing was too much a part of me to stop. My parents had tried for a while (waste of paper), but I saved every scrap and used every bit of money I got for paper and pens. I kept writing even after a teacher told me that only people with college educations could be published. I was disappointed, but by then it didn't matter to me. I wrote the stories for myself because they were entertainment. They were companions from my brain, set down on paper where I could call them back up and share the adventures again.
I didn't consider publication again until after I married. In some ways, looking at others struggling to connect to their writing, I think I had the better path. I learned to write for the love of writing and not worry about the market. I learned to write better as I went along, and finally made the really big changes after I started looking at this odd pastime as a way to share with others.
There was another profound moment that influenced my writing, even though it somewhat died down after the statement by the teacher. It was the day when I found out one of my favorite authors, Andre Norton, was really a woman and she wrote science fiction and fantasy, which had been an Old Boy's Club for a long time (hence her name). This was what I wanted to do! I was already writing, after all. I wanted to share those adventures.
Even now, I think of her and her adventure stories as the underlying influence on the type of things I write. I'm lucky, because although the traditional market doesn't publish many of the types of stories I still love, the world of the indie author is bringing them back for me and others.
So in the end, I just get to write and enjoy what I love best.
It's a great world.
If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer