I love to write, but I've never thought of myself as a "writer", but I guess I am! I can't say when I started writing, but in 7th grade English, our teacher would give us "Story starters" and we had to finish the story. Those were the best assignments and mine almost always got hung up on the walls around the classroom. In 9th grade, I wrote a story (a Christian romance) and gave it to my English teacher to read. It wasn't for an assignment, I just wrote it. I honestly don't remember if he gave me any feedback on it, I just remember doing it-- that and the fact that I'd started writing on just the fronts of the paper and realized I was running out of paper so I wrote back on the back side of the pages. So you had to read all the way through the fronts, turn it over, and read all the backs! I have at least a half dozen stories started on paper and probably at least that many story plots in my head!
I really wish that I could just hook up my brain to the computer and the stories could write themselves! I sometimes can get on a run and write quite a bit and other times, I just stare at the page and nothing comes out. It usually comes when I know the next part of the story, but don't know how to get them from where we are to there. My story characters are like old friends, their stories running around in my head like movies. It would be nice to actually get a story finished so other people can "meet" my friends, too. But that also scares me to death! Am I putting in enough detail, too much detail?? Do my characters feel like real people to other people who are just meeting them? The stories and their characters are a part of me, and it feels like if they don't like my stories or characters, then they are rejecting me.
Writing things makes it easier for me to express myself. I have poems I wrote in college that helped me deal with things I was going through. I probably wouldn't have told anyone the same thing, but writing it helped. I have kept a journal/diary off and on throughout my life and it has served the same purpose--getting my feelings expressed in a tangible way. It's just the idea of expressing myself so that other people can read it (and therefore see me) that scares me!
My goal for this year is to actually finish a book/story. What I do with it after that is still a question, but I want to have at least one finally finished! I have one story that I've been working on for more than a decade!