Driveby Life Story

I miss Seattle.

This week’s YA Highway (100th RTW–Congrats to YA Highway!!):  What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic jams and detours? Where are you going next?



It’s grey and rainy today.  Reminds me of Seattle.  Perfect weather for all of the introspection that’s about to go down right now.

I’ve always loved to write.  There was this line that my older sister wrote when she was in elementary school, something about a girl coming downstairs with her chestnut hair flowing behind her.  Cheesy, but something about it inspired me to write.  English teachers loved me.  All of them.  In fifth grade we did a ton of creative writing, and we got to read our stories to classmates and vote on the best stories.  I won a lot, which for a fifth grader was HUGE, even if the prize was just a special “Reader’s Choice” pencil.

After high school, my writing dropped off dramatically.  Bad experiences in creative writing classes made me think that all of my English teachers were dead wrong about me and my supposed talents.  There were tears.

I spent some time working as an analyst, which wasn’t as soul-sucking as it sounds and paid REALLY WELL.  I was able to support my husband while he finished his IT degree.  He got a job in another city, so I quit my job and got into freelance business writing.  I figured that even if my creative writing was awful, I knew I was good at crafting reports, papers, articles, and the like.

During my off-time, I started reading YA.  Then, I started writing YA.  And I showed a few people my stuff and they didn’t make me cry.  Mostly because freelance writing for businesses meant lots of revisions, so I stopped holding my writing so close to my heart.  Started thinking of it more like a piece of work, that could be toyed with and improved upon, instead of a piece of my soul.

I applied to several graduate programs, got into all of them.  Spent one semester at Hamline University in their low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and it was so eye-opening for me.  Even though I couldn’t afford to continue the program, I definitely learned a lot from it.  And I got a lot of great craft book recommendations, which I have been working my way through ever since.  We moved to Seattle when I started the program, and for some reason, I was very inspired in that city.  We had to move back to VA within less than a year–family health issues–but hopefully we’ll get back there soon!

Now, I’m just writing, writing, writing.  Working with a critique group and a few good beta readers.  Reading stacks of books.  Happy as a pig in mud.

No clue what the future holds for me and my writing.  Hopefully babies, because my biological clock has gone completely haywire.

Share My Wisdom:


  1. stephanie says:

    What a beautiful post and an incredible journey. It sounds like you love writing so very much. And I wish you a future full of babies!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks! I do love writing–couldn’t spend so much time working on it and thinking about it if I didn’t. But I think I just want a future with one or two babies. Not a full-scale invasion 😉

  2. Rachel Searles says:

    Your journey sounds kinda like mine, minus the MFA program. But I’m still working as an analyst and can’t see a way out until we move someday. And I hear you on the biological clock–more like a biological air horn…

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