My passion for writing began at an early age. I used to spend hours in my room writing short stories when I was still in grade school. I can remember hearing my aunt’s voice through the thin wall of my bedroom as she sat in our living room and complained to my mother, “There is something wrong with that child. She spends way too much time in that room. What on earth is she doing in there?”
“She is crafting,” my mother responded.
“I don’t think that’s healthy for her,” my aunt replied.
I didn’t care that my aunt thought I was odd. I liked to write so I kept on doing it.
When I was in grade 7 we did a unit on careers. I came home from school one day and announced to my parents that I was going to be a novelist. My Dad didn’t say anything; my mother smiled. “That’s nice,” she said.
“You can’t do that. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to be an author,” my eldest brother laughed.
I did come to realize that my brother was right; making a living as a novelist was a bit of a long-shot so I began to explore other options.
During a family dinner back in the early 80’s I announced that I knew what I wanted to do with my life; that I knew what I would pursue in terms of my post-secondary education. I was eager to share my plans with my family.
“I’m going to be a journalist,” I blurted out.
My father continued to eat as my mother smiled.
“You realize that you have to talk to people to do that?” My brother raised his eyebrows at me.
I was painfully shy back then so my brother could not imagine me being a journalist; interviewing complete strangers. His criticism only added fuel to my desire to do it.
In my first semester of studying journalism a well-respected, highly recognizable journalist; who happened to be one of my instructors, walked up to me in class and whispered, “Teresa you have talent as a writer, but unless you shake this shyness you will never make it in this business.”
From that moment on I became even more driven. I immediately enrolled in a night public speaking class to gain some confidence. I also took one-on-one voice training lessons. I was determined to break out of my shell.
Here we are over 20 years later and I can say that I had that journalism career I wanted so much. I was a television reporter for 15 + years and I went on to teach and mentor many others who have a passion for writing. My entire career has focused on writing- from broadcast journalism to teaching journalism, to media consulting and freelance writing – and of course writing my first book. I guess I should be thanking my brother and professor since they were in some strange way motivating factors.