The First Cheerleader

by | 20 February 2018 | Life, Writing | 21 comments

I started writing quite a few years ago now. Normally if someone asks me, I’ll tell them that my ‘origin story’ came from the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum which kicked me off into the world of writing. I don’t remember writing much or planning to be an author or anything before then.

A week or so ago I got a new bookshelf, and while I was reorganising my books, I found myself flicking through some of the folders I had on the completely-crammed-full bottom shelf. In one of these folders, I made a discovery.

This discovery was titled ‘Joy Stories.’


A scuffed looking piece of paper, two hundred and twenty-two words long, 18 pt font (and bold for some reason?), and a very fancy font for my name beneath the title. And don’t forget the very proudly typed ‘age 9’ at the bottom.

The tiny little story was about a girl called Joy Brown, who was—apparently—five years old, and one day she was drying up the breakfast dishes and she had a thought. “Why do we pray?” She asked her dad and he read her a bible verse and her question was answered and Joy was back to her carefree, happy day.

Reading over it, I cringed at first. Goodness me, this story is horrible. But then I actually thought about it a little more.

I wrote six of these ‘Joy Stories’ and little nine year old me was very proud of them. But why? What made me so enthused about writing all these stories?

My dad.

Right now I distinctly remember when I printed the very first story out and bounded over to my dad completely excited and nervous at the same time and showed it to him. His reaction was exactly perfect. He loved it! He wanted me to write more!


Even though I’d basically forgotten all about that until a few weeks ago, I know that was an important thing in my life. My dad encouraged me—even though the stories were, frankly, not the best (although since I was 9, I get a little excuse 😛 ). His enthusiasm brought out 1,898 words from that small-me, and that’s a noteworthy number.


After the One Year Adventure Novel escapade, I started writing more. I wrote stories on my blog (and no, I’m not linking to them XD) and I had ideas and inspiration and all sorts of exciting things.

And all the way through, my dad cheered me.

Obviously, my mum and my siblings cheered too, but he was right at the beginning. The actual-beginning-that-no-one-remembers-anymore. He encouraged me at the very first, and he still encourages me today.

My dad is the Super-Duper-Hero of my fan club (otherwise known as the ‘family club’ 😉 ) and is always excited about my stories. He wants to hear about what I’ve been writing—the perks and the woes—and he makes me coffee and chai to keep me fueled.

Honestly, I’m so. blessed.

I never did anything to earn that enthusiasm and encouragement and support, but he’s there with bucketloads of it.


Today, it’s my dad’s birthday and, coincidentally, it’s also very close to the exact day that I wrote that very first story about Joy. I’ve come a long way from there, but it wouldn’t have been this much of a joyful, exciting adventure without my cheerleader.

Dad. You are my favourite fanman. Thank you for everything.

(Basically this entire post was just because I wanted to say ‘fanman.’ xD And also because you’re amazing and I love you so much.)


This post was a little rambly, and more of a ‘storytime with Jane’ sort of style, but I hope you don’t mind. Now you know some secret backstory that has never been shared with the world until now. The origin story behind the writer you now see. 😛


What’s your ‘origin story’? Who was your first cheerleader? Did younger-you plan to be a writer or did it just happen? Chat with me!

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED this post, Jane!! It was soooo sweet and I loved hearing how you got started with writing. That is so cool!

    Heehee, I have a reallllly long blog post about that particular story. It is here (in case you are curious):

    My friends actually knew about me writing before my family did. I wanna say my best friends in high school were my first cheerleaders. While I did write little books as a kid (mostly knock-offs), I don’t think I ever thought about being a “writer” until high school.


    • Jane Maree

      Aw thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 😛

      Ooh, that’s really cool. (Yes, I was definitely curious. xD)

      That’s so great that you had best friends who could encourage you and keep you going with your writing. 😀

  2. Jenna

    aw, sweet post! happy birthday to your dad!
    My first story was handwritten with doodles on lined paper, stapled together to make a book. I was 8, I think. like your situation, my whole family cheers me on, but my mom was the first cheerleader. And she was my proofreader too 😉 she’s always encouraged me to keep writing 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      That’s so cool. I love the image of a small Jenna with her own little handwritten, stapled-together book. <3 So cute.
      Having support from family is basically the best thing that can ever happen to a writer, I think. 😉

      • Jenna

        agreed 🙂

  3. J.A.Penrose

    Wow, I’ve never really thought about this that much… I think it would have been my older sister. *frowns slightly* Yeah, that would have been it. I would carry a notebook and write all of these stories and she would draw pictures and generally encourage me.

    This is actually a really cool idea and a really good reminder. I’ll have to thank Ruth when I next get a chance!

    Loved the post Jane!

    • Jane Maree

      Aw that’s so cool. I love how there’s these people and moments in our life that shape us like this, even when we barely remember them anymore.

      Thank you! ^-^

  4. Jake T.

    <3 Happy Birthday to your dad then!!! Technically I'm late, but not really at the same time cuz it's the 20th where I am. XP
    But anyways I think my first cheerleader was probably my younger sister??? When I was like 10, 11, 12 (somewhere around there) I wrote a horrific book, but she read it, and decided it was her favorite book ever! So, that was hilarious!! XD
    I wrote probably at least 7 "books" (I'm using that word very loosely here.) in my tween/early teen years, and they are horrible, but every once in a while I still pull them out to read them, and catch myself giggling at the cheesy jokes and weird mysteries. Yes, they are terrible but that hasn't changed. XP And that's okay by me. I'm just glad I didn't trash them.

    • Jane Maree

      I’ll be sure to pass on your message. 😉

      Little siblings are the best cheer squad, honestly. That’s so adorable. xD

      Whoa nice! I don’t think I wrote at many (though some very short stories did happen). I love laughing at my past-self’s writing. 😛
      That’s a really good view to have. *nodnod*

  5. GJE

    Aww, so sweet! My parents are so supportive of my writing, but I think my sister is my head fanman. 😉 I always know she’ll be /very/ honest. lol.

    • Jane Maree

      Sisters are great, aren’t they? They can be encouraging and cheering but also great critiquers too. 😛

  6. S.F. Dekreel

    AAAAHH! This is SO SWEET! *heart eyes* <3 <3 <3
    Oh wow, I just can't stop cooing over it!
    As for me, I started "writing" when I was about six. And by "writing," I mean, drawing stick figures on notebooks, and narrating the stories to my sibling. I've always adored story-telling.
    In fact, basically the only reason I write is because I love story-telling. I don't want to be a published author (although that would be kind of cool), and I don't want to worry about themes and character arcs. (I'm betraying all of writer-dom…… *cowers*) I just want to tell stories, no matter how silly or illogical.
    Ayy, I'm bumbling again…

    • Jane Maree

      Haha I’m glad you enjoyed this. 😛

      Aww that’s sweet. I love that. Storytelling is a lovely goal. None of this professional business. 😉 That’s honestly really cool.

  7. Aposhipolepo

    Quite the fascinating author origin story Jane. I can safely say your stories have greatly improved over the years, even among your serials the increase in depth of both plot and characters is obvious.
    My first major story idea came from a rock I found lying on the ground, which probably sounds much more boring than is was.
    Happy Birthday to you father.
    Using new words is a good reason for almost anything.

    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! That’s definitely good to hear. 😛

      A…rock. That actually makes me intrigued because it’s so unusual. 😯

      • Aposhipolepo

        It was a very *unique* rock. 🙂

        I should explain it sometime. (I still have the rock)

        • Jane Maree

          All right then. xD

  8. Jem Jones

    I hope your dad had a GREAT birthday! It’s so sweet that he was your very first supporter. 😀

    My younger sisters were always eager to read my stories, which I guess gave me encouragement? even though I now look back on those stories and wonder how it was possible they could like them… xD

    • Jane Maree

      He did have a wonderful day (and we ate a lot of food, so that was good xD). 🙂

      Aww that’s great. Haha same. xP All the stories that my dad and others really loved and encouraged me about…they’re horrible. XD

  9. MiddleEarthMusician

    (Sorry I’m so late!!! :-Z)
    Aw, this was so sweet! I loved it!!! Fanman is a great word *nods* 😛 My very first story was written when I was 7, and it was about a leaf bug I had to let free. XD I never planned to be a writer; it just happened to me (actually, I got really serious about writing right after I met you! :-D).

    • Jane Maree

      (nooo, it’s fine *hugs*)
      Hehe thank youuu. It is, isn’t it? XD

      Ahhh I love it. Biography of a leaf bug. 😉 You didn’t chose the writer’s life. The writer’s life chose you. 😛 (Aww really? I’m so glad I could be inspiring. <3)

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