Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My writing journey timeline by Danielle Joseph



I thought I would share some pivotal moments in my writing life and how I came to write teen fiction.

First Grade: Mrs. Peterson had the class write and illustrate their own picture books. This was my eureka moment: I can write whatever I want? Really? I wrote about a little girl who ran away to the zoo and couldn’t find her mother but met some great friends along the way. Mrs. Peterson was my first publisher. She typed up the text for each book and laminated them. I still have that book today and share it at my school visits.
Second Grade: I had another awesome teacher Ms. Shannon who did creative writing assignments with us and I wrote a story about bears. I thought I was really cool and this made me relish every creative writing opportunity throughout elementary school.

Eighth Grade: I did not find a lot of creative outlets in middle school and by the time I got to Mrs. Adler’s eighth grade English class, I was ready to burst. My friend Nell and I used to try and come up with the wackiest sentences we could think of for our vocabulary words. Then we started asking our teacher if we could act these words out in front of the class. And you would never believe that I was a shy kid!

Ninth Grade: I had a journal full of angst poetry. Looking back I did not have that much to be angst about but at the time I sure thought I did. I did not like to share my poems but really enjoyed writing them.
Tenth Grade: I got permission from my English teacher, Mrs. Fiske, to hand in humorous essays for extra credit that I called life observations. I basically wrote about people in my life and tried to do it without offending them. Note: In this class I did not really need the extra credit but I certainly wasn’t going to spend my time working on extra credit math assignments for my geometry class.

Twelfth Grade: I was allowed to write a novel for my senior project. For half a term I spent my mornings working on my novel. Visions of Liberty clocked in at about eighty pages and has never seen the light of day again but it was an awesome experience. At this point I knew I really wanted to be an author.

Sophomore year of college: I transferred to Emerson College in Boston and took an amazing fiction writing class with Andre Dubois III. He was very encouraging and I left the class feeling like I belonged at Emerson.
Junior year of college: I took a children’s writing class with Jessica Treadway and that’s where I really found my voice. I began writing about a fourteen year old girl named Clarissa and everything clicked.
College Graduation: I totally panicked after receiving my degree in creative writing and quickly did what all starving artist’s do, drum roll please……….I GOT A JOB AT THE SUPERMARKET DELI COUNTER. All I can say is it was gross and depressing and that’s why I quickly filled out the application to get my Master’s Degree. Plus, I did not look good in a hairnet!

Originally I wanted to get my MFA in creative writing but fearing that would land me right back at the deli I studied marketing and advertising. Luckily I was able to take creative writing graduate classes too in my program. Upon entering the work force, it took me about another three years to get back to my writing but once I did I never stopped again. I really credit so many teachers along my journey for helping foster my love of writing and reading.

3 comments:

  1. THanks for sharing your journey with us, Danielle! I agree you made the right choice to go to graduate school so as to get away from the hairnet. I too draw the line at hairnets. Great post! XOXO

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  2. Those are awesome, thanks for sharing!!! (and every time I go to the deli counter I watch the people use those slicers and cringe just imagining their little finger tips being sliced right off).

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  3. Thanks, Debbie. Yeah, I've got too much hair to work the hairnet--lol! Jenny, thanks:)! And the guy I trained with actually cut off a tiny piece of his finger tip. He also stole rotisserie chickens by hiding them in his duffle bag!

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