Once upon a time I was 11. I was a couple of terms into secondary school and I hated it. I despised it with a passion. I didn’t see the point of being there. And I was a complete brat to my teachers, the kids around me and my parents.
I wasn’t happy being there, I didn’t like my appearance, I had terrible acne, braces, and I didn’t really have many friends. I liked being in my own world, and working on my own projects and playing games like SimCity and Railroad Tycoon. Paul Graham talks a lot about why nerdy kids aren’t popular here (set aside 30 minutes to read that article – it’s worth it)
I had an English teacher called Mrs G. And she hated me. Some teachers just don’t take a liking to you. They make a snap first impression, and that colours the rest of all their judgements about you.
Because of her viewpoint of me, all my work always got Cs an Ds… and ‘see me’ scribbled in red ink. Even if I thought it was pretty good.
Then one day, I thought… “I can change her mind.” I just need to be resourceful.
So we had a task called Escape From Kraznir. There was a beginning we’d been given. And we had to write the end.
So I was resourceful.
I Googled Escape from Kraznir.
Found another student’s story.
Find&Replaced the names to fit my own characters.
Cut a bit out. Wrote a small amount more, in the same style.
And then I handed it in.
She was amazed at how good it was. She wrote A all over it – and was bowled over. And that completely changed her opinion of me.
She believed in me. She was spurring me on.
And from that point, I had that confidence behind me so I was writing well, and feeling good about it. I was also being recognised for it.
She was seeing me through a different lens now.
I’d faked it, until I made it.
Now I’m making a decent living from writing.