I began writing in high school. I would turn the music up really loud and let the words flow. Mostly it was poetry and short stories. I showed my work to my English teacher who, of course, encouraged me. Then, when a boy I had been crushing on since seventh grade started hanging around one summer, I actually let him read my poems. What was I thinking? Well, the emotional stuff didn't scare him away and we dated a couple years later when he came home from college . . . that is, until his girlfriend returned. Oh, well.
I also kept a diary which I would encourage everyone to do. It makes you think about what was important every day of your life and you get to really know yourself when you look back through the years. What was going on in my life on January 5th of eighth grade or May 5th of twelfth grade, who I was friends with, what I was stressing about, what my hopes were, etc., are more real because they are on paper and not faded or altered by my memory.
When I wrote EDGE OF ESCAPE, which flits around between events in Eddie's and Rebecca's lives in grade school, junior high and high school, having that diary front and center in my mind's eye gave me some added perspective to work with.
I had confidence in my decision to become a writer because of my early efforts. I just wish I hadn't waited so long to try novels. Since I started 9 years ago I have completed 7 novels and have 3 more partially done. Everybody has at least one novel inside - just write!