my doll after her haircut

Your childhood writing and your future as a writer

What can your childhood writing experiences tell you about your future as a writer? The haircut I gave the life-sized doll from my childhood accurately predicted that I have no aptitude as a hair stylist (see the scary photo below). Can childhood experiences also predict our writing skills as adults?

my doll after her haircut

Childhood writing indicators

Mulling it over, I see the following potential indicators of your future as a writer:

  • Your grades in English classes
  • The encouragement you received for your writing
  • The quality of your writing
  • Your skill with words and writing
  • Your love (or dislike) of writing

Were these good predictors for me?

My childhood didn’t instill in me a belief that I would become a reasonably good writer.

I believe I was a B-average student in my high school English class. Back then, social studies classes were my strong point (as you may know, I eventually earned a Ph.D. in Japanese history). As a high school senior, my heroes were Edwin Reischauer, Japanese historian and ambassador to Japan, and modern dancer Martha Graham. Nobody encouraged me to write—probably because I was an average writer. Looking back at later examples of my writing, as I did in “Confessions of a lousy writer—and 6 tips for you,” I feel confident that I didn’t show promise as a writer.

However, I wrote a lot as a kid. I filled many spiral-bound notebooks with my journaling. I also wrote a long fairy tale with a hero named Zoogoo. I slipped into another world when I wrote. Even today, I feel a similar sense of complete absorption when I write these blog posts. I feel satisfaction from sorting out my thoughts, even though I’m not tackling topics of lasting importance.

Childhood writing vs. adult writing

I think the good feelings I got from writing were the best predictor of my future as a writer. Through study and practice, I was eventually able to overcome my weaknesses as a writer.

What about YOU? What does your childhood writing experience tell you about your writing as an adult?