Goal: Becoming a Devoted Writer
I feel the best way to truly begin this writing endeavor is to introduce myself: Hi, I'm Rebecca Fischer. And if you haven't noticed yet, I love books.
I've loved books back before I could even read. I would pull books from their shelves, open their covers, and run my hands over the pages, admiring the words. Words. They were such a mystery to me. Someday I would decipher them, I told myself, and finally understand what these books are all about.
My great-aunt, Pat, taught me how to read. She was a retired school teacher, and both my sisters, my two cousins on my dad's side, and I were taught pre-school by her, one-on-one. Each day we focused on a letter in the alphabet, starting with the letter 'A'. We would sound out the letter, and roll in it Play-Doh. We would also make a meal based on the letter ('I' was an exciting day because we made homemade ice cream). Aunt Pat would also trace the letters on my back, and I giggled every time at the tickle. But it wasn't until I was older that I realized that she wrote words into my skin, day by day, letter by letter, until they were a part of me.
I remember the very first book I ever read entirely by myself. I can't remember the title, but it was about a laughing spider that was eaten by a bird, who started to laugh, too. Then the bird was eaten by a cat, who also started to laugh, then the cat was eaten by a dog, who started to laugh...it went on until every one was laughing so hard they spit each out. When I finished, my heart thrummed in my little chest: I read a book all by myself.
The next thing I knew, I was constantly reading. I spent a lot of time in the school library, reading books by Beverly Cleary like Ramona and the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. The Scholastic book fairs were a dream to me. I learned to loved the smell of books early on.
This love of books led me to a love of storytelling, and matched my drawing skills (another love of mine) I began to draw comics. A personal favorite in the 6th grade was Cool Jack, a comic about a cat and his family, which included his kitty wife and kitten kids, and his elderly owner and her teenage granddaughter who lived with her.
It wasn't until high school that I tried writing, like actual writing. My English teacher, A. K. Smith, gave us assignments called Wild Minds, and they were writing prompts that were, I believe, meant to improve our writing while also have fun, and they were. Inspired by them, my next thought process was, "Well I love reading books and drawing comics. Shouldn't be a hard transition, right?"
Writing did not come naturally to me, and in many ways, it's much harder work than reading a book or drawing a comic.
But, with practice, it has become better. And with time, I have come to love writing as much as I love reading and drawing (almost). And I began to consider it as a career.
The only trouble was, I didn't know any professional writers.
I grew up in a fairly rural area in Northern California, and most of the people I knew were farmers and ranchers. Any references I had of writing as profession came from film and television, and even books. And as much as I love books and movies, the stories they told of writers perpetuated a stereotype I came to accept: writers were either starving artists, or bestselling novelists living in New York City. I didn’t want to be starving artist, and I didn’t want to live in a big city, ever. Also, when you grow up in a very blue-collar culture, the general opinion of the adults around me was, “Other people do that for a living. We work real jobs.”
And so, writing was something I pursued on the side. The problem was, this choice meant I began to prioritize other things above writing, and soon it was placed so far on the back burner, I would go months, even years, without touching projects I started.
It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I decided to change that.
At the time, I was living with my dad and uncle on the family ranch. I was a college drop-out working basically full-time on the ranch. It wasn’t terrible; I had a purpose and I was making decent money. But I wasn’t happy. I kept trying to be satisfied with what I had, but I simply wasn’t.
Then I saw an ad for a local writer’s conference, held smack dab in the middle of my hometown, Mokelumne Hill.
I remember thinking when I read it, “There’s writers around here?”
Then, spur of the moment, I signed up. And it changed my entire outlook on writing.
Here were dozens of people who made a living writing, and none were starving artists. There a couple who were bestsellers, but all were professional, straight-forward people. It was through them that I realized: I can be a writer.
That year, I also went back to school. In the spring of 2017, two years later, I had an Associates degree in English, with a certificate in Multimedia for Entrepreneurs. And now, I’m studying Creative Writing Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University, and I’ll have a Bachelors degree by the end of the year.
On top of that, I work part-time at a local newspaper, the Calaveras Enterprise. I’m involved in several writing-critique groups, and have made it a goal of 2018 to be more devoted to writing. I’m still helping on the ranch, but I don’t let it stand in the way of something I love: books. Reading, editing, writing books.
All this has come from a goal I set a couple years ago, which was to become more devoted to writing. However, it’s not fulfilled yet. In truth, it probably won’t ever be done, but that’s not a bad thing. Being a devoted writer should be an on-going goal, and I plan to continue to pursue it.