Who Influenced Your Writing?

Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today.

Some of us knew from an early age that we wanted to become a writer. For others, the desire came about later in life. Mae Clair wrote an excellent post a few years back, Are Writers Born or Made? If you haven’t read it, you can do so by clicking this link.

Regardless of when you realized you had the writing bug, no doubt there is at least one person in your life that influenced your decision. There are several people that played a role for me.

A photo of me with my dad.

My father was an avid reader who passed that desire along to me. I believe it’s essential for authors to also be readers, so Dad’s love of books had a huge influence on my writing career. His youngest sister wrote poetry, so some of my creative genes undoubtedly came from that side of the family.

Some of my earliest childhood memories came from listening to my mother tell true stories of when she was growing up. Mom was forty-two years old when I was born, so her stories of living during the Great Depression and World War II impacted me. Her father was also a fabulous storyteller as was her brother, so I also got some creative genes from the maternal side of my family.

My beautiful mom.

Mom was the first person who encouraged me to share my writing. I suffered from low self-esteem, and although I wrote several things during my teenage years, I wouldn’t share them with anyone else.

When I wrote my first “novel” at the age of seventeen, I shared it with a cousin. She is also an avid reader and gave me several tips on how I could improve the story.

I allowed life to get in the way of my dream. I went to work, got married, and put aside any writing, but the desire never went away. In the early 2000s, a former coworker (who had no idea of my desire to write) once said to me. “You should write a book.”

I tend to go into a lot of detail when telling a story, and she picked up on that. A few years later, when another coworker said the same thing, I knew it was time to make my dream a reality.

Since then, there have been many people who have helped me in my journey. My brother has also been a big encourager.

Writing is a journey, not a destination. Along the way, we will encounter obstacles, some of which are of our own doing. Remembering the ones who encouraged you always helps when you come across a roadblock.

Who are some who influenced you as a writer? Please share in the comments.

50 thoughts on “Who Influenced Your Writing?

  1. I wrote a fictional novel back then. It was fun and at the same time, challenging. Now that I’m doing blogs, the people who influenced me to write are my grandmothers and grandfathers. They do write so well and they inspire me not just to write by mind but from heart as well.

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  2. As in your case, my father read to me a lot and instilled in me a love for poetry and stories. The other person who had the most influence on my writing career was Tony Ardizzone, my first creative writing professor. From him, I learned the craft of fiction.

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  3. Pingback: This Week at Story Empire – Joan Hall

  4. As a child my mother read to my brother and I most nights, but I never planned to become a writer. Sure, I had produced essays and short stories at school but did Polymer Technology at Uni. I was fan of the author Michael Moorcock as a young fellow, I noticed that a college writing competition had as a prize meeting Mr. Moorcock. Novels have taken me less time and effort than I put into that max 5000-word story. Rewritten at least fifty times. But I was flown to London and taken to “New Worlds” magazine offices and there was introduced to my favorite author of the time (other than Jack London but he was dead and so that doesn’t count), Michael Moorcock. He was gracious and welcoming then asked me what else I had written. I had only one other tale with me, the one I had started writing in the hotel room the night before he asked to see it, read the fifteen or so pages I had written. pulled down his glasses and said, “keep trying son, you show promise”.
    Well, that was me set. Two or three years later I was published in “New Worlds” and then in “Uncanny Tales”
    So really my way of getting into writing was through Hero worship. An odd way but no stranger than many others here.

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  5. It was fun, Joan, to learn about your writing roots. My dad was also a huge reader and our house was full of paperback books – lots of fantasy. My family was also made up of storytellers, though only my grandfather was a published writer. It’s interesting how we can look back at our roots and see the connections. A fun post, my friend.

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  6. Getting the creative genes from family seems to be common. My father and grandfather (my dad’s dad) were both writers and exceptional storytellers. Along with my high school journalism teacher, these are my biggest inspirations. Great post, Joan.

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  7. Finally got on my computer tonight. I never thought about being a writer. I just wanted to teach elementary education. But several teachers encouraged me to write, then my husband signed me up for a summer course of “Writing For Fun and Profit.” Lol. It’s been lots of fun, not as much profit:) But I have lots of encouragement from friends and family. I’ve been lucky.

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  8. You obviously have the creative genes from both sides of the family. And the encouragement was great.
    I didn’t get the writing bug until late, too. It had not even crossed my mind, even when I was teaching English I never thought of it.
    I suppose it was Dungeons and Dragons that did it. I got fed up with spending money buying scenarios and thought I would write my own. Then, playing as a player, not a DM, the current DM got the Dragonlance Saga for us to play. Then I learned that the writers had turned them into a book. The idea was born.
    I was going to write it as one book, but it has grown and I’ve just finished Book 4. I think Book 5 will finish it, though.
    Writing these books started me off with the writing bug. I wrote two more fantasy, started a historical fiction inspired by a ruined house I saw as a teenager, and 3 fantasy prequels. Now I have a poetry book just come out and am working a book of short stories inspired by fairy tales and having a lot of fun.

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  9. I never planned on becoming a writer, but I did have an English teacher in middle school who encouraged my writing. She also gave me several recommended books to read outside of class. Since I’ve always been an avid reader, I loved the extra books. Wonderful post, Joan!

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  10. What a wonderful post, Joan! And I can so see the resemblance you have to your mom 🙂

    Thank you for the shout-out about my previous post, as well. For me, I’ve always known from a very young age (six) that I wanted to be a writer and I have never stopped writing stories during all those long decades. My parents were my two biggest influences and supporters. Both loved to read, and my father enjoyed writing in his teens and early 20s. I also had many, many teachers who saw my love for the craft of writing and encouraged me throughout the years. And now I have my husband, siblings, and friends cheering me on. I’ve learned a little from each along the way, and all have a special place in my heart for their support.

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  11. Joan, love this post. We are all lucky you were encouraged to continue to write! Like you, I had a parent who was a fabulous story teller – my father, and also like you, I so wish I had recorded his stories. My first book was at age six, an illustrated affair with maybe six words on a page in pencil. I enjoyed this peek into your background, Joan.

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  12. I love this reflection, Joan. My father could not read nor write when he and Mom married during the Great Depression. She taught him. 🙂 I need to put that in a story somewhere. But he loved to talk and tell stories. However, my sister is definitely my biggest influence as far as actually writing. She always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t. But she is the one who pushed me to write the true stories about Rick and my life together. I would never have gotten them written without her help and influence. We still support each other and exchange chapters for critique. What a fun post!

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  13. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. I started a hundred stories but never a book. I finally decided that I would write a book and proceeded to take the next ten years putting it in place. Sadly once my eyes were opened with writing courses and seminars, I realized it was a hopeless mess. I used the printed manuscript as a doorstop, so it wasn’t a complete loss. The two authors who inspired me the most were Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving. Once I finally broke free of organized commerce, I could concentrate on writing. That was in 2012, and I have been at it since. A super post, Joan.

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  14. I’ve always been a bookworm and enjoyed telling stories when I was little. By the time I was in highschool I decided trying to write a “book” after reading a Terry Brooks novel. I never really thought about being really serious about it until I took a college creative writing class and he said he thought a piece I’d done could be publishable.

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    • Encouraging words from a teacher can go a long way. I remember the instructor in one of my creative writing courses gave us an assignment to describe a color. I thought it was simple, but she said a lot of students had trouble with it. She told me, “You are a writer.” Her words meant a lot to me.

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  15. There is a great verbal storytelling tradition on both sides of my family. This might have been more common at one time than our modern world will accommodate. There were many stories about the Great Depression, the wilderness, crossing the Atlantic as a Welsh immigrant, and many more.

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  16. Beautiful reflection, Joan. Thank you for opening the doors to heart memories. Growing up on a farm and being the eldest of nine, I was always busy with life tasks. That said, I had two lives–one involved helping with the babies and the other involved dreams. From as early as I can recall, there were unseen others with me. I thought them to be saints or angels. My mom noticed my reflective side early and gave me a diary and told me to write down what was in my heart. Over the next years, I wrote and wrote, sharing with no one. A high school English teacher pulled me aside one day and told me that I could have a writing career. Her compliment is one I’ve always cherished. After I wrote my memoir, I discovered that my great aunt was a journalist, that my mom’s identical twin wrote her own story, that a few cousins had done the same. I tend to think we all have stories to share, but for some of us, writing is the means to tell our stories. My mom must have seen that in me, for certainly her simple gift started me on the path. 😊

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  17. Lovely post, Joan, and how wonderful to have a love of words and reading on both sides of the family – it’s in your DNA! Those are great photos of your beautiful mother and of a delighted you with your father. My mother rarely read and my father was so busy he struggled to find time for it. My maternal grandmother, however, adored reading, and brought me books on her visits. On my tenth birthday, she gave me her 1900 copy of Oliver Twist – I still have it, with her dedication in the front, but it needs careful handling now. I borrowed other Dickens novels from the library after that but stopped after The Old Curiosity Shop because I was so upset by the ending. x

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