Being a writer has been my dream since I was old enough to hold a crayon. Yep, I wrote my first stories with crayons and colored markers.
Going to school and learning to read well completely changed my world forever.
In first grade, I mastered (at least on a first grade level) the art of reading.
Charlotte’s Web was the first big book I read entirely by myself. I remember sitting on my bed crying as I closed the back cover. It devastated me that such a wonderful book could have such a heart-breaking ending.
A few minutes later, I realized someone wrote those words and did so in such a way that they were now touching me so deeply that I was crying about it.
In that moment, I knew that I would be a writer.
Learning to Write
Learning to read was one thing. Learning to write was something else entirely. As a wonderful twist of fate, the right teacher came my way exactly when I needed him.
Ted Sperduto, now long retired according to LinkedIn, loved children, and he loved the written word.
Like a beloved artist putting a paintbrush into the hand of his new protege, Mr. Sperduto put a felt-tip marker in my hand and opened the door to the universe.
Mr. Sperduto encouraged my love of writing, even allowing me to stay inside from recess or to keep writing on a story when my math assignment was waiting for me. He gently tended the flame that would become a life-long burn.
On more than one occasion, Mr. Sperduto told me I had a gift. He probably told all of his students the same thing, but to me I was the only one.
I had a wonderful gift and would use it to make the world feel things.
The Flame Withers
Following the path of too many talented people before me, I let the fire that was my love for writing die down. First, it was girls that took my attention. Then it wasn’t long until I started working, and there’s little time for writing when you’re going to school and working in the evenings.
The love never left me, quietly beckoning me over the years to come back home.
In November 2017, I set out to write again. The gift was till there, but the words didn’t come as easily as I remembered.
Still, I set time aside as often as possible to get some words on paper. The more I wrote, the more words that would come.
I was writing again.
Slow and Steady
Most of those early words went on a blog I have since shut down. It never got more than a few thousand total views, and much of the writing wasn’t very good.
A few people did reach out to me regarding my words, and it became clear that my words could in fact touch people.
In February 2018, Speaking Bipolar was born. It has been a bit of a tenuous relationship.
I love Speaking Bipolar immensely, but I did not understand going in that a successful blog, if it even is one, required a lot of blood, sweat, and tears besides all the words it garnered.
Yet, as much as I love the blog, all of the “experts” were telling me to keep it to a niche. It’s a great place to write about mental disorders, chronic illness, and personal development, but it left little room for all the other words in my head. I also struggled with all-or-nothing thinking.
Then I found a solution.
Once again, when I needed something the most, it appeared in my life.
Mindlessly browsing the web one night, when undoubtedly I should have been writing, I stumbled on a post about why you should be writing on Medium.
I had heard of Medium before, but didn’t know much about it. The writer of the article wrote an engaging tale, and before the night was over, I had signed up for the site.
With Medium, I am no longer restricted to any specific topic.
Yes, the so-called experts still tell me I should keep to a niche. In the last two years of writing online, though, I’ve learned that the people who call themselves experts rarely ever are.
Perhaps in time I will confine myself to a niche, but for now, I love having a place to write poetry, short stories, articles about TV shows and the music I listen to, and stories about random thoughts passing through my mind.
One unexpected gift Medium has given me is that it’s opening new doors. A few weeks ago, a record label reached out to me asking if I would write a review for a musician I admire. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity and will post that review soon.
Then I stumbled upon The Good Men Project. The site endeavors to be a force for good by opening a space to have “the conversation no one else is having.” After reading dozens of articles on the site, I decided to submit one of my own.
The Good Men Project will happily post previously published material as long as you hold all the rights to it. Since the author maintains all rights to anything published on Medium, I submitted a piece that had performed fairly well.
To my great surprise, The Good Men Project picked up the piece and added it to their featured content.
An Inspirational Letter to 20-Year-Old Me is in the form of a letter from me, now in my mid-40s, to the man I was at 20. Please click the title and give it a read.
Whether I rightfully should bear the title, for the first time in my life, I feel like a real writer. My passion is finally producing fruit.
Will writing ever be my sole source of income? That’s the dream of most writers, myself included. While I don’t think that dream is impossible, I don’t imagine it is something that will happen quickly.
In fact, I just read a quote from a full-time writer today that said at a bare minimum you should expect the start of your career to take as long as getting a bachelor’s degree. Depending on what I count as my starting point, I’m only one to two years in right now.
In the meantime, I am choosing to celebrate the little wins. I wrote a story, and it’s out there for the world to read.
Yes, today I can say, I am a writer.
If you struggled to read my second-grade story in the pictures, I’ve included the text here, with its second-grade spelling.
A walk in the woods by Scott Ninneman – One day I went in the woods. And I fell in a trap. It was a bear trap. Not a hunters trap. But it was a bear trap. I heard bears coming. I was scared that theyed eat me. I shaked. The next day they started to boil a pot. I thought they would eat me. I shook more. And I was right. They took me in the kitchen. And ate me. There was one of them his name was Mr Sperduto so watch out.Scott Ninneman, 2nd Grade
Until next time, keep fighting.