Ah, the first time my work was read.
I could go back to when I was 10. But, instead let’s talk about a more poignant time. I was in college and my first creative writing class was poetry. I figured this would be easy. I just need to write pretty rhymes. I was wrong. Practically everyone in the class reflected that of the Ally Sheedy character from The Breakfast Club. I felt like Molly Ringwald amongst a crowd of cool intellects and I was the goody two-shoes who lacked ‘real’ life experience.
I turned in my first poem and as the class berated my immature and totally unemotional content, my teacher (as nicely as she could) said, “There’s a career for writers like you. You could write for Hallmark.”
I dove my head into a pint sized frozen yogurt with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on top and vowed to stop doing what was ‘safe’. It clearly wasn’t getting me anywhere. I had to be me.
By the end of the semester, I grew a pair and wrote what really sat with me everyday (the stuff I pretended wasn’t there). I also promised myself that when I wrote, I would start to write as if no one else would read it and it was just for me. It seemed to work for the class. Now it was my turn. I turned in what felt like a dark and maybe a bit intense poem.
After a session of group comments, I got called up in front of the class for writing an emotive poem – bubble gum not included.
This isn’t to say I don’t like my bubble gum. But, it goes without fail – if it’s important to you and you know it inside and out, it will show. And the readers – they can tell.
Writing Prompt: Write about the first time you realized people enjoyed reading what you wrote. What kind of feeling was that for you?
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