Authors are asked that question many times during their writing careers. Of course there are variations on that them, like when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Or when did you first get published?
I'm going to answer the first question. When I first started writing, I didn't know how to write. What I mean is I didn't know how to make letters and certain not words or sentences, but I did tell stories.
My mother listened to soap operas in the morning while she did her chores--and I listened to. My favorite was "My Gal Sunday" about a young woman in a little mining town in Colorado. I drew pictures telling my own version of that story. That memory is very vivid. I had my own little table and chair in our breakfast alcove and that's where I "wrote" my stories.
When I did learn how to read and write, I moved on to other writing.
I was captivated by all the Little House on the Prairie books and when I'd read them all, I wrote my own--in long hand and in pencil.
It wasn't too long before I'd branched out to tales that came from my imagination. I know that I did send stories into Jack and Jill magazine. And I wrote a children's book about a fairy complete with illustrations that I sent into a publisher. Received my first rejection--and as I remember, it was nice encouraging me to keep writing.
During the summer when I was still in grammar school, I wrote plays and gathered up all the neighborhood children to perform in them. Looking back, I bet a lot of mothers were happy I kept their children occupied. We performed in my back yard where my dad rigged up curtains so we'd have a real stage. Though I don't remember what any of the plays were about, I know we always had a big audience. (All those mothers, I suppose and the siblings too young to act.)
By junior high, I was writing and publishing my own teen magazine with articles and stories I wrote and illustrated myself.
In high school, I mostly wrote in my diary. When I fell in love with my husband, and my life became interesting, I no longer kept up the diary.
Married and with five children, my writing was confined to newsletters for PTA and plays for my Camp Fire Girls to perform. I did write another book that I sent off, but it was rejected too and I decided that maybe I didn't have what it takes to be a writer. But it wasn't too long before I was writing again, receiving rejections, but not giving up.
And the rest is history. I am not a big name writer by any means and don't make a lot of money, but I am doing what I love and isn't that really all that counts?
Over 35 published books later.
Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith