Sandra Birdsell

October 17th, 2012

Getting Started

I can’t say exactly when I started writing, as writing has always been a part of my life even way back in grade school. I’m not sure what compels a twelve year old to write poems and stories, but that’s what I was doing at that age. Perhaps because I came from a large family and there wasn’t a lot of disposable income for entertainment or lessons of any kind, except music, of course. My mother baked bread and buns as payment to our music teacher in exchange for lessons.

So for me writing was a natural part of who I was and it wasn’t until I was in my mid thirties that I began to think about shaping the stories and poems I was writing, to want to show them to someone, to want to be read. I had three  children at home and my time was limited. I would write for an hour or two after they went to bed. My writing room was also the sewing, ironing and television viewing room and spending time at the typewriter required skillful negotiation. My children sometimes left notes in the machine, knowing this was a sure fire way to gain my attention.

What inspires me to write goes way back to my childhood, the anger I felt at the injustice of bullying on the playground, what was then called “picking on someone.” And adults who would say to me to learn to live with unfairness, that injustice was a fact of life. Writing is a way for me to try and understand the world I lived in.

My children are grown and have children of their own, but I am still a busy person and must jealously protect my writing time. As I grow older my sleep patterns are changing and so more and more I find myself getting up at 5 in the morning and working until 11 or 12 noon. The house, the city is so quiet then, the outside world disappears and the imagined world of the writing takes over. It’s magic how quickly the hours pass!

2 Responses to “Getting Started”

  • Darcie says:

    How did you master becoming self-disciplined enough to make writing and ‘working from home’ your FT job? (Leaving another note where it is sure to get your attention…)


  • Sandra says:

    I was already at home most days when I started writing, although I had several part time jobs and so making the transition from a workplace to a home workplace wasn’t an issue as it could be more many. The discipline of raising 3 kids, their needs and deadlines becoming your own is a good motivator to get things done and on time. Today I still “dress” for work in the mornings, no housecoat or lounge wear, but the real thing, cosmetics and matching socks, earrings. I try not to respond to emails and messages until the end of the day, but I’m not always successful. It’s tempting though to raid the refrigerator in search of inspiration.


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