I interviewed two guys tonight for Nu Magazine, and they asked me how long I had been a writer. I told them about two years and they seemed surprised that it was such a short time. After the interview, I thought about their question more. I had answered off hand since I wasn't anticipating the question, but now that I think about it, I have only been writing professionally for two years. I have a history that goes beyond that; I just didn't really consider it until afterwards.
I have been writing poems since I was in my early teens. That was so long ago that I had almost forgotten - not that I wrote them, but how often. I was really prolific. I didn't do it because I thought I was some great writer, though... I did it for expression.
When I was fifteen I wrote a short story and entered it into a contest that a publishing company was having. It won 'Honorable Mention' and was posted on their website, which was a big deal back then when websites were new. (A big deal for me, I mean.)
At eighteen and nineteen I was still writing poetry for myself, but I became an editor for my college's women's magazine and published several there. After having to write personal statements and essays to keep those scholarship checks coming, I realized that writing was actually kind of wonderful and that I loved doing it.
The rest is history. I don't really remember for certain when I started seeking out gigs and submitting my work but it is an addiction now, a lifestyle. A hard one, no doubt, but a worthwhile one.