I began writing short stories in 1996. My sister, Holly, with a degree in creative writing from Ohio's Bowling Green State University, offered a fiction writing challenge. A short story a month for a year, to share and critique. We imposed monthly deadlines to force putting pen to paper while life's demands left few hours to pursue writing aspirations. At the time, I was submerged in a technology career and happy to participate in the joint, creative distraction.
The first twelve prompts were selected immediately. Then once a year we met to select phrases, situations, and photographs to use as writing prompts to feed the challenge for the coming year. Muse unleashed--there was no going back. I had found elan vital; writing was in my blood.
A big eye-opener came when, at the age of sixty, I submitted a short story to an online magazine. Within ten minutes I received a contract to publish the piece. I think often of my lost opportunities as I peddle forward in an effort to make up from my procrastination.
Over the years I have attended writer conferences, participated in writing groups, and joined literary organizations. I've signed-up for on-line classes and led writing workshops. What started as a lark, took on a life of its own. From the initial challenge conception, twenty years ago, I continue to enjoy the daily ritual of creative writing.