I have always been a writer. From writing poems and random stories as a child to writing this blog, writing has always been something that I’ve turned to when I feel like creating something. As a wordsmith, creating pieces of writing gives me a sense of purpose. There’s really nothing like putting pen to paper (or, more typically today, putting finger tips to keyboard) and creating something awesome. I have not written consistently throughout my life, but whenever I have had any really creative ideas, they have become writing projects (or at least pieces of writing projects). As someone who works in small bursts of energy and is easily bored, many of my writing projects are single chapters, scenes, or sentences that never become anything. But the promise of a great idea is still there, and even that feels good.
When I was in elementary school, I was inspired by writers like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. I wrote journal after journal full of poetry. Some of it was silly, but some of it was deep (well, as deep as a nine-year-old can be). When I was in 4th grade, my entire elementary/middle school competed in a poetry contest. A group of local poets graded our poems against each other and gave the top three poets of each grade a plaque.
I still remember how it felt sitting in the pew of our school’s chapel with my heart racing, waiting to hear the results. As someone who wrote books and books of poetry for myself, I felt like this was the moment that would truly define whether or not I was a good poet. I completely lost the wind from my sails when they announced that they were going to group and rank grades 4th-8th together — how was my 4th grade poem supposed to compete with the poems of the middle schoolers?! — and even more dismayed when my name wasn’t called when they announced the first, second, third, and honorable mention for our classes.
That is, until they announced the grand champion, the top poem in the school, and mine was chosen. To this day, I still think back to that girl whose legs shook as she made her way to the front of the chapel to receive her plaque. Every time I achieve a new milestone with my writing, I like to think that I’m making her proud.
Through the rest of my childhood, I was inspired by Young Adult authors, those who were writing about the lives of normal teenagers who happened to find themselves on extraordinary adventures. Sure, my adventures were a bit more ordinary, but I knew that I had the words to make them exciting, to make them into something that people would want to read. I started crafting short fictional stories of different genres. I wasn’t great at all of them, but they gave me that thrill of creating anyway, so I just did them for fun.
I didn’t write much in high school and college, unfortunately. Between the research papers that I had to write and my waning self-confidence, I didn’t really have the energy to crank out new material. I got my writing energy out in the grammar units of my English classes, where I pored over my lessons and amassed as much grammatical knowledge as I could. To this day, one of my favorite parts of writing (and translating!) is fully understanding how grammar works and finding the perfect adjective or verb for exactly what I want to say. My ex/bestie/editor Josh and I will spend hours on the phone talking about which words fit where in my writing. It’s…probably kind of sad.
Although I didn’t have many opportunities to write creatively throughout my high school and college careers, any chance I was allowed creative liberties, I took them. High school papers turned streams of consciousness, graduation speeches meant to inspire, open letters to people who would never read them, and fictional pieces for creative writing courses in college — any chance I could get to flex my creative muscle, I took.
I’ve marked every great milestone in my life with a piece of writing. At the end of my high school career, I wrote a graduation speech as well as a guide to surviving in my high school that I left to the next recipient of my locker. When my college invited students to write and deliver speeches for our Baccalaureate ceremony with the theme of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, I simply couldn’t resist writing a motivational speech to read to my class. Before I left my first job earlier this month, I wrote a creative fiction piece using all of the inside jokes my team had during my time with them to give them as my parting gift. When big life changes are happening, my immediate instinct is to document it by writing something.
Toward the end of my college career, missing my writing, I took to BuzzFeed and started creating some listicle community posts. As a busy college student, I struggled to find time, motivation, and focus, so making listicles was perfect for me. It suddenly felt like this was my calling. I just had to work for BuzzFeed. I immediately crafted my cover letter and waited for the right time to submit it. Countless rejected applications later, I was still not discouraged. While I may never work for BuzzFeed or another site like it, I know that I’m a good writer. I know that I can use my words to move people, and more importantly, I know that I enjoy doing it.
So, back in 2018, I started this blog. I had let my happiness slip away for too long, and I had let my writing muscle lie dormant. I was finally ready to create again, even if I was afraid to put myself out there. With nothing left to keep me from writing, I had no more excuses: it was time to get back on the horse.
But creating content every week isn’t easy for me. Besides having very little time, there’s also the question of inspiration. I don’t always know what to write about or how well what I write will be received, but I can’t get better at my craft if I don’t practice it, and I can’t get the thrill of creating without, you know, creating. Sharing pieces of myself can be scary, but incredibly rewarding.
Whenever I found myself struggling to find my purpose, I’ve turned to writing for solace. I’m greedy for the thrill of creating, and I’m looking for opportunities to write wherever I can find them. It didn’t even dawn on me until recently that writing has been this constant in my life, even though I’ve known this entire time that writing is the one thing that makes me lose track of time. Writing weekly for the blog has reminded me that I feel best when I’m writing. I hadn’t considered writing as a possible career when I was younger, but now, as I begin my new role writing professionally, I’m realizing it can be. Why couldn’t I do this for a living? Why couldn’t I do what I love? Why did I have to wait to be happy?
Why can’t I start now?