My first writing experience was, in some ways, really my first drawing experience, my first strokes across the white page. (Now, I suppose it would be strokes across my online sketchpad – remember, this was years ago!) Ah, how I liked to cover the blank white page with scribbles and doodles. All those wavy lines. And color! And then, as I got a little older, some of that art began to tell a story.
I loved the colored box of Crayolas. The burnt sienna was such a funny color and I liked picking out the reds and purples, especially when the crayons were brand new and sharp! The greens were strange, never anything like the color of grass, really.
Above the grass, I drew in a square box, with small multi-paned windows. Through the grass, I sketched a teeny-tiny path leading up to the front door. Smoke curled from a red chimney. I drew stick figures for mom and dad, myself and my two brothers. My home. My first home, and a place where I found myself at home. Drawing and writing.
Yes, the first experience involved drawing pictures. Then following closely on its heels, by third and fourth grade, came the illustrated stories: “How Bobby Helped Santa and His Elves at Christmas.” “Sally and Tommy Get Their First Pony.” “Grandma Whistler at Halloween.” These were illustrated with strokes across the white page. I drew pictures of the “twins,” Sally and Tommy. I drew a really lame pony! I sketched in tiny glasses for Grandma Whistler, and a gray bun on top of her head. The stick figures were fleshed out – the language was evolving.
She liked to see these things appear where nothing was before:
Crayon strokes across the white page, the stars, her cat at the window…
Filling up space, the page, began to mean I was alive. My first writing experience.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WRITING EXPERIENCE? Take ten minutes and write about it without stopping, without worrying about spelling or punctuation, without over-thinking it. Don’t let that little voice inside of you whisper, “it doesn’t make sense,” or “it’s not good enough,” or even “who cares!” Let yourself go, and see what comes of it! This is called free-writing, and often gives you a very good first draft of whatever it is you feel deeply and really want to say.