There have always been people who write that have written stories and poetry since they were children. These types where those who always knew they would want to have writing and creativity be a part of their lives. I was not among those types who just knew from an early age. I didn’t stumble on the therapeutic value of writing until I was a senior in college. By then I was only a year away from graduating with a business degree that deep down I knew I would never use in a career. I never considered majoring in english and history, two of my three favorite subjects in high school (chemistry was my third favorite) because I believed the whole ‘you can’t find a job with a liberal arts or humanities degree’ nonsense when I was younger. I didn’t take into consideration that a) my mental illness would probably prevent me from holding much for employment and b) most college graduates don’t end up with a job in their major.
Yet as it turned out I did have some writing talent. I was signed up for an honors english class my freshman year simply due to my entrance exam scores. I certainly would have never volunteered for such a class on my own. On the first day of class, we were asked what our writing experiences were. There were a few who kept extensive journals, others who wrote poetry, a ministry student who wrote his own sermons, and then at the end of the line there was me. I meekly admitted that I wrote only when I had to. I didn’t have to write extensively in high school as I just took general english classes. I was about to drop the class after the first day simply because I knew there was no way I would do well in there. To make a long story short, I didn’t drop the class and I found out that I was good at writing. As it was early in the course of my mental illness still, I also found it to be cheap therapy. Yet I didn’t seriously start writing even as a hobby until my last year of college.
I’ve now been seriously writing for ten years now. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my writing as therapy. I’ve also self-published a couple poetry books as well as a non-fiction book that’s part memoir and part advice book for mental health patients and their loved ones. Heck, I’ve even managed to sell a few copies of those books here and there. Even though I’m far from being a master of the craft of writing, I’ve had an enjoyable ten years teaching myself the ins and outs of story telling and even learned a little trying to get published. Without the prompt from a wise academic advisor who saw potential that I couldn’t see, I never would have found out I could write. And I certainly would have never had the courage to start a blog.