Monday 11 January 2021

Inspirations II - A Personal Insight into Writing by Joanne Johnson

    I wrote my first story when I was seven years old. I wrote it on paper towel with a crayon. I was in the hospital with whooping cough and to protect my eyes, all my books, colouring books and crafts had been taken away. Even at that age I had to READ. Lacking anything else, I decided to write my own story. My parents were impressed, the doctor less so. They took away my crayons and I spent a couple of days blindfolded. At that time, my motivation was necessity.

    Before writing stories, I made them up for my younger siblings. They were serials, stretching across many bedtimes. My brother told me many years later that I was their TV.  My motivation then was to put the kids to sleep. 

    For a few years, when I had children of my own, my motivation was money. I thought I could write, so after the kids were in bed, it was my time to try to write something sellable. I concentrated on the kind of romances found in magazines like “True Love.” Magazines that have been out of print for many years. For the record, I didn’t make any money but I did learn that if you want to take the joy out of what you love, do it for pay.

    Years pass, kids grow, dreams fade. Having a full time job, singing with a chorus, looking after the home, all those things got in the way of writing. Eventually I threw away all my stories and decided it was a childish dream. I still read everything that had words printed on it, and I still felt that I could do a lot better than some published writers. But, really, who had the time? 

    After retirement I connected with a friend hadn’t talked to since high school. 

    She said: “Where have you been? I thought for sure I would see your name on a book by now. You used to tell such great stories.” 

    I was surprised she remembered that about me. 

    Now, when I sit down at the keyboard, I think about her and It keeps me grounded and motivated.  I thought I was just making up stories, but you never know who is watching. 

    It also helps to have the Edmonton Writers Group supporting me. Since joining the group I’ve published two books and an e-book.

    Sometimes you just need a kickstart.

J.M. Johnson

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