Hello there Internet! Hope you’re all having a fantastic day. Today I want to talk to you guys about something I love that is not reading- it’s writing! I know, shocker, right? If you’ve been around here for awhile then you’ve heard me talking about my writing before but I wanted to actually do a blog about this because it is such a big part of my life so without further ado, let’s get started!
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember.
The first big story that I ever wrote though, was called The Oak Tree and I was around 1st grade age when I wrote this. The story took place in Dublin, Ireland and the main character Maddie had a terrible stepmother and two stepsisters so it was very much a cinderella situation while her dad was away in Iraq because that was in the news a lot at the time. Maddie also had a secret world that she could access through a secret door in an oak tree in her front yard where there are talking animals and secret tunnels which connect to other tree-worlds that belong to her friends from school. But then the stepmother and stepsisters want to cut down the tree so Maddie has to save it and honestly I don’t actually remember how it ends but that was my first story!
Moving past that point I started and stopped different ideas for stories, novels, and even concepts for a series of books.
Then, in high school, I joined my school’s literary magazine team which became a central point in my life for those four years. Some of my best high school memories took place in that particular classroom during our late night meetings where I learned about writing, editing, graphic design, publishing, and leadership.
At this time I also was taking guitar lessons where I was doing a lot of songwriting. Mostly pop and folk tunes about my life and things that were happening. This is something that I still do, especially when I am confused or just need to sort out my thoughts. Picking up my guitar and singing whatever comes to mind is a great way to step back from a situation and be able to examine it in a different light.
It was during this time that I also discovered my new love for poetry.
I had been interested in poems before, but it was particularly during my time at lit mag when my poetry really grew, and eventually I even turned to slam poetry which I fell in love with during the annual Chicago Slam Poetry event, Louder Than a Bomb which is an amazing organization and is the largest youth poetry slam in the entire world. There was a documentary made about it and actually one of my poetry coaches Adam Gottlieb has a performance in the documentary which can be found on youtube. During this time I listened to a lot of Taylor Mali, Sarah Kay, and Button Poetry. I have notebooks filled with poems and I even placed in my high school’s spring poetry slam which was the Spring of my senior year and I used that event really as a way to clear the air of some pains and drama that had happened in high school, and to heal and finally step out of my high school identity and give myself permission to move on. And then I stopped. My poems fell to the wayside save for a few lines here and there and I traded it in for a return ticket to the land of fiction.
As some of you may know, I started off my Freshman year of college participating in the National Novel Writing Month in November of 2014. It was through this event that I wrote my very first draft of The Grey Mansion, which is the historical fantasy story that I am still working on today.
I have been blessed in my life to have some wonderful influences on my writing life from my parents who have always read or listened to every word (when I let them) to my wonderful high school mentor, second mother, Creative Writing teacher and Literary Magazine fearless leader, Mrs. Peters, to the wonderful creative communities I found through Louder Than a Bomb and the Teen Writers and Artists Project, as well as through NaNoWriMo and AuthorLaunch and the Internet in general. If you are interested in any of these programs, if you’re a writer of any age or caliber or genre looking for encouragement and community I will leave links to each of these organizations on their names.
And of course, I couldn’t make this video without talking about the fantastic books I have read on the subject of writing as well as fiction books that inspired me to write and create and some of those are:
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) and also her TedTalk on creativity
Yes Please (Amy Poehler)
Book Launch Blueprint (Tim Grahl)
I know this post has gotten very long already so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up here but what it all comes down to is that writing and creating is who I am, what I breathe, and how I live. It is essential to my identity and I believe that no matter where you believe your talent lies, we all have the God-given ability to create in our own way and it is essential for my life that I continue to create in whatever medium is at hand, as long as I am exploring what it means to be creative.