Believe it or not, for a long time I was a closet writer.
Not literally; I've yet to pen a single story whilst hidden inside a closet. But I didn't broadcast the fact that I enjoyed writing. Sure, my family and a few friends knew, but they were about it. Between the ages of 12 and 18, they were my only audience.
Then came college, with no time to write. At least, I didn't make the time. After that, my teaching career consumed my life, and in the summers, I ran a day camp, so there was no time to write then, either. At least, that's what I told myself. When I wasn't working, I was surfing or mountain biking or hanging out with friends or watching TV or playing video games. I wasn't writing.
Then I met my wife. Well, she wasn't my wife at the time, but she was going to be. Eight years ago, we attended the same small group at our church, and we both shared an interest in writing. We started sharing some of our work with each other, and it was love at first read.
Since then, she's been my cheerleader, my first reader, my muse. I've written more since we've been together than any other time in my life: five novels, over ninety short stories, and she's been there beside me every step of the way, rooting for me and supporting my efforts.
Most importantly, she's the one who told me I needed to submit my stories for publication. I always thought I would someday, maybe when I was in my forties and burned-out on teaching. But thanks to my muse, I started submitting my work in the summer of 2009, and the rest has been, well, freakin' awesome.
How about you? Is there someone in your life who's been there to encourage you on your journey as a writer? I think we need all the support we can get, and I'm deeply grateful for my wife's positive influence.