1. Age 4
    When my parents got called into my pre-kindergarten class because I insisted on being called Ariel and the teacher thought my "story-play was too advanced" for the other children.
  2. 2nd grade
    They brought us a bunch of snack foods in Language Arts class and told us to write about them. Most people wrote stories about themselves eating the food. I wrote a first-person narrative from the point of view of a pretzel. It still hangs in my parents' house to this day.
  3. 6th grade
    We watched the wish-fulfillment episode of The Twilight Zone and then had to write our own short stories. Mine far exceeded the page count required and then in workshop, unironically, one of the popular boys asked for my autograph.
  4. Age 14
    When I finished the YA manuscript I'd been working on for a year, and had this tangible 200 page thing that had come out of me.
  5. 10 grade
    When I was on the phone with my best friend, complaining about how my characters weren't doing what I was telling them to do, as if the fictional people in my head had autonomy of any kind.
  6. Age 16
    When I read Bird by Bird for the first time and realized that maybe I wasn't crazy.
  7. 12th grade
    When I wrote a research essay on showrunners during the writers' strike and had the AHA! Moment that there was a thing I could be that combined my love of writing and my love of television.
  8. Age 18
    When I finished my third YA novel manuscript before heading off to college.