I can’t really remember when I started writing. Or when I began reading. I do remember for a really long time, I hated them both. I would like to say that writing, or even reading, came naturally to me. I would like to say that I came out of the womb eloquently spoken. Well, my mother would claim that. But I didn’t. In fact, reading and writing were both a challenge for me. I love them now! I marvel at all the possibilities that could come of them both. But when I began, I was truly no good at either.
I remember, very clearly, my first couple of weeks in kindergarten. I was having trouble with my letters. I would mix up B’s and D’s. In speaking, I would mix my R’s and W’s. For a while, they thought I was dyslexic. I wasn’t. But they put me in a special education class and very quickly removed me from it. My reading skills remained a struggle for some time. But my mother had me sit down at the dinner table and had me read a chapter of whatever book every night before bed. Gradually I got better. By the time I was in sixth grade, I felt like I actually earned my place in an advanced writing class.
My mother granted me that “advanced student” title much earlier – despite us both knowing how awful a reader I was – because of how much I’d been writing. By the time I was in second grade, I had a fully developed series called The Pigeon and the Bug. It was about a rich pigeon, called Mr. Pigeon, and a bug, called the Bug, who were always at odds. They fought over hot dogs and park benches and crumbs at duck ponds.
When I was in seventh grade, I found myself in an advanced writing class. There I wrote the very first draft of A Twisted Fate, a novel I wrote to completion in eighth grade and published in my senior year of high school.
One would think that as I got more involved with writing, I also got deeper into reading. That assumption would be incorrect. I was only ever met with texts that were formulaic and dull and rigid. Readings that overwhelmed me and were out of touch with my focus. I don’t think that I ever actually fell in love with reading. But today there are some things that I love to read. I like gathering information about and learning how to be a better writer. But in any way, if it is at all possible to avoid reading it, I will. I wouldn’t say that I’m opposed to reading now. Or hate it. And I know it is impossible to be a good writer without also being a reader. But I think that I’ve made do by reading a good amount of literature and studying those texts to become a better writer. Afterall, there is a lot less pressure in reading Harry Potter versus a Writing 101 Manual.
Kaylyn Marie Dunn was born in Maryland but spent most of her childhood moving around as a military brat. But even still she started writing her first novel at fourteen, and at the age of eighteen, A Twisted Fate, hit stores. Since publishing her debut novel, Kaylyn has continued writing, appeared in newspapers, and most importantly, graduated high school. While attending college, Kaylyn works part-time as a tutor during the year and camp counselor during the summer and continues to write future novels. Kaylyn can be found online creating YouTube videos, making digital art, and soon much more.
First, great applause for Kaylyn’s mother. Next, I hope everyone took note of Kaylyn’s frank admission that she doesn’t especially like reading. How about that? A writer honestly confesses that she doesn’t particularly want to read everything that comes along, and not embarrassed by that! A fact which I suspect is widely true in the universe of writers, and points out that writers are as diverse in likes and talents as the rest of the world. That wonderful idea is what creates the range of good published books at our many bookstores. Thank you for underlining that, Kaylyn, and keep up the good work.
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