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What Inspired You to Become a Writer?

Happy 4th of July! As we ease into the holiday weekend, I’ve been thinking about why I became a writer. I’ve also been thinking about the books that inspired me over the years, and I would love to hear what those books are for you.

Was there a specific book that made you want to become a writer?

For me, those books were Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.

I’ve always been a reader, but much of my young life was spend reading traditional Western male authors. In school, we read Beowulf, Lord of the Flies, then Beowulf again. (Blech.) As the daughter of Yugoslav immigrants–and someone who spent much of my childhood traveling back and forth between Chicago and the former Yugoslavia–I never saw myself or my experience mirrored in the books I was reading.

That all changed in college, when I discovered writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Louise Erdrich and Amy Tan. It was the first time I realized that my story might actually matter.

I was already an English major, but dove headlong into feminist and multicultural literature, taking every class I could find that would expand my horizons, spending what money I had on books by women of first-generation descent. Those were the years I began to come to life, began to trust my story, value my experience in the world.

I’d love to hear what those books were for you. Who and what inspired you to become a writer? Please leave a comment below.

P.S.: I’ve been working on a list of memoirs (the memoirs I’ve read as well as those of my to-read list) and will have that ready for you in my next post. Woot!

P.P.S.: If you have a friend who could benefit from my posts, please forward these notes or invite them to join our community here. In the meantime, wishing you and your loved ones a lovely holiday weekend!

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