It’s no secret that I wish I could write more. I have a blog FFS (read that as “for Pete’s sake”)! I’ve always wanted to write. It’s something I was always good at (compared to anything else I did) and even received compliments about.
So then why did I get a degree in biology? Good question. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to that.
Being able to make a living as a writer was something that I didn’t really have any understanding of or experience with in my life. Also, as stupid as it is, a good part of it was sheer pride. I knew that lots of people started as biology majors and couldn’t handle the academic rigor. They dropped biology and went to something like business or communications. I saw that as fluff. College-aged me knew that the world had a legitimate need for the professions those departments’ graduates went onto. But I felt that was the easy way out.
Adult me sees something in the following quote, which is often misattributed to Einstein:
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Most people have a profession which is suited to them. Be it the way they learn, the way they work, their learned skills, whatever. Of course, some people have real, innate skill that is merely honed over their life.
I had moderate success in school, but that success was less and less as years went on. I finished in the top 10% of my class when I graduated from high school, but I went to school with almost a thousand kids in my class. Of those, less 800 graduated. So to say I was top 10% means there was like 70 kids in my high school that did better than I did. I don’t find anything impressive about that number.
In college, I had to retake statistics, organic chemistry, and botany (twice!). I didn’t leave with a 3.0.
My reading comprehension is crap; I took the SAT 3 times and got a 540 on the verbal section all 3 times. My study skills are nonexistent. These two things alone are pretty convincing evidence that I can never be a writer.
That said, I took a poetry course and a short story (fiction, not writing) course in college and got an A in both, as well as in my freshman communications 1 and 2 courses. If you looked at my major requirements’ GPA versus my liberal arts requirements’ GPA, you’d wonder why I got my degree in biology. And like I said, that’s not an easy answer.
So here I am, convinced that I should be able to climb a tree. Most of my friends can climb trees. My father and my wife can climb trees. But just because I like trees and just because I like people who can climb trees doesn’t mean I can climb trees. Whether climbing trees is being a scientist or being a writer, I have to try something else.
I’d like to think I can be a writer. But since I can’t be a scientist and I literally can’t climb trees or even swim all that well, maybe it’s time to try being a writer. For Christmas, my mother in law got me a book on writing. I’m going to start here. Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul was purchased from my Amazon wishlist and I’m excited to read it. I never even put it away because I didn’t want it to get forgotten about. It’s been sitting on my desk for months. Sometimes it laughs at me and tells me I’ll never be a writer. Sometimes it tells me I’ll never know if I don’t try. Usually it tells me that my dreams are empty visions. I really need to just take some time for myself and read the damn thing.
Hey, right now, worst case scenario is I read the book and have to wait until AmoebaJr is in preschool before I can do anything. I’ve never built characters or a story. It’s going to take a lot of work. But AmoebaJr starts preschool next fall, so I’ve got some time between now and then to read Writing Picture Books. Even with poor reading comprehension, 12 months should be enough time, right?