• Jennifer Mattern

My Writing Path

As a kid, I loved nothing more than to hear a teacher say it was creative writing time. While many of my classmates groaned, a feeling of excitement bubbled up in me. I could write whatever I wanted? For me, that was the very definition of joyful freedom.

No published work is complete without an "About the Author" page. Here's a snippet of one of mine circa 1984.

In those days I didn’t need a teacher to tell me to write. I was always scribbling stories—like the one about a magical flying horse who travels to New Jersey, or the saga of a paralyzed girl who has an operation and goes on to win the Olympic gold medal in ice skating. Stories were exciting. After all, my characters could do whatever I wanted them to.

That feeling lasted all throughout elementary school, but it was nearly extinguished during the rest of my educational career. It seemed that once writing switched from “write what you want” to “write what you have to”, my enjoyment all but disappeared.

Then, in the spring of 2019, I enrolled myself in a class at my local community college. It was called Explore Creative Writing. Over thirty years had passed since I’d written for the fun of it, and it was with some trepidation that I walked into the classroom that Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t long, however, until I felt the long-dormant flame of creativity flickering back to life. Each week we were required to write something and share it with the class. After breaking into small groups, we would critique each other’s work.

I loved every minute of Explore Creative Writing.

In fact, I was staggered by the depth of my passion. Truth be told, I still am. I’m surprised by how much I love creating character-driven stories for middle-grade readers. I’m shocked by how deeply I love watching a novel morph from a tiny seed of an idea into a living thing. My love for writing is not even tainted by the fact that it’s hard. And sometimes writing is REALLY hard. But even if my dreams of publication never come to fruition, I plan to keep scribbling stories, because writing isn’t just something I do. Being a writer is who I am.

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