Becoming a Writer

In an effort to gain focus and organization with my writing, I recently picked up DIY MFA, a book that outlines a three-pronged approach to development as a writer: Write with focus, read with purpose and build your community. The brains behind DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereira, runs a nice Facebook group for those interested in applying her approach, and she recently started issuing a series of prompts to get us thinking about our writing life, our approach to writing, etc. Her first prompt asked us how we became a writer, and below is my take on that. Thanks for reading.

I have enjoyed writing since I could read. As a child, I particularly enjoyed creating my own comic books, but it quickly became apparent that my talent lay in the words much more than the pictures. I really have to thank my English teacher during my junior year of high school for recognizing my ability and providing great encouragement to me as a writer. That’s when I really knew I had a talent. Of course, I also have to thank my parents for raising me in such a book-rich environment and always encouraging my brothers and me to use our intellects.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my writing really focused on journalism and nonfiction/academic writing as I went through high school and college, planning to go on to law school. I’m pleased to say that I got cold feet on that plan and haven’t looked back! I ended up working as a reporter after a couple of other fits and starts, then shifted to public relations. It was when I left newspaper journalism that I began really focusing on fiction writing. I’ve been doing it on and off for a good 15 years now. I started two novels, but never finished them. I’ve written a bunch of short stories. Two were published, others are still going through the submission process over and over again. With the help I’m getting from the DIY MFA approach, I’m now more focused on my writing than ever and working my way through the first draft of another novel. Enjoying the journey!

You can learn more about DIY MFA at