My Writing Journey

The Swing

Christine at 5 years old
How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!


I first heard and memorized the poem, “The Swing,” when I was five years old.  I think that’s when I began to fall in love with words.  I loved how sing-songy the poem felt.  I loved how the words rolled off my tongue.  I loved what it was about — a swing! Swings were the best and so were cabbage patch dolls.  At that time, I could almost read on my own. Once I started reading, I never stopped.

Before long, just reading stories wasn’t enough.  My imagination took over and I started writing.  Soon, characters and their worlds filled my brain.  When I was thirteen, I wrote 2 almost full length novels (meaning I never finished them!)  One was a fantasy about two princes and two princesses who have an adventure together.  The second was a young adult paranormal novel about a young girl on a quest who could shape shift into a raven.  Though I’ve lost the original copies of those manuscripts, the characters and their stories are still tucked away in a special place in my mind.

After that, I went through a creative dry spell.  I even went through two years of college without remembering that I loved creative writing!  I remembered my junior year when I found a class to take called “Writing for Children.”  After taking that class I knew. Some day — maybe not soon — but some day — I was going to become  a children’s book author.


Photo by Vanessa Honda

Four years later I tried to sit and write my first picture book.  I sat for hours. Ok, Ok — maybe it just felt like hours. The only progress I made was coming up with a title, some flat characters, and no story.  This process continued several times and each time I set the idea back on the shelf for awhile.


Two things helped me to get back on track. The first thing was blogging.  Blogging consistently helped me put words down on the page.  This is something I have learned is very important for writers.  Sometimes it’s not important WHAT you write, just that you write.  The second thing was inspiration. I am fortunate to work with children. They inspire me daily. One day the light bulb in my head just turned on!  The children and I were making crafty creatures out of pipe cleaners.  Mine turned out to be a colorful spider.  Everyone loved her (me included!)  This spider became my muse.  Her name is Iris the Colorful Spider and I have written 3 stories about her so far.  I’ve also been able to channel that creative energy into other characters and stories.

My writing journey has been lifelong and yet is still in its infancy.  I am so happy to be pursuing my dream.




Works cited:

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Swing. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson – Swanston Edition Vol. 14 (of 25)

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