How I Found Writing

I never thought I’d aspire to be a writer. Quite honestly, I used to dislike writing more than I now dislike math. When I entered high school, I had a list of what I wanted to get out of my life. However, that quickly changed. The multi-talented singer/clothing designer/chef idea didn’t seem completely plausible, and I fell in love with words instead. I was going through a tough time, and at those particular moments when I needed to talk, I didn’t always have someone to turn to. Instead, I turned the mess of thoughts cluttering my head into lines of poetry. Writing was the only way I could make myself feel okay again.

During the fall of junior year, I sent in my application for a selective two-week creative writing program in New York. Applying was a shot in the dark. Even though I knew that my writing wasn’t terrible, I’d never had the confidence that it was good enough for others to appreciate. A few months later, I was told otherwise. I was one of 33 girls accepted. When I arrived in New York for the Teen Ink Summer Writing Program, I was told that over 300 had applied. Needless to say, I felt pretty special.

That two weeks changed me. I’d never been a fan of having girls as friends; I’d never been a fan of short stories; I’d never been a fan of fantasy writing. However, after the first few days of classes, my opinions on all three drastically changed.

We spent each three-hour class working on a different genre of writing, then explored all of the excitement New York was hiding in its busy streets. The girls quickly became my close friends; I was able to learn that opening myself up to others wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I made friends and gained experiences that were unique and completely irreplaceable.

I put my heart into making the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I grabbed myself by the collar and yanked my mindset of β€œjust being a poet” out of its comfort zone. In two weeks I created more beautifully crafted pieces of writing than I ever had before. It was liberating to realize that I wasn’t tied to one genre; I could create prose that conveyed just as much emotion as my poems.

Often when I’m sitting in my room and I let my thoughts drift, my mind wanders back to memories of those two weeks. It’s easy to say that I was happy in New York, but it was more than that. I had never felt so confident and at ease before. Being in such an exciting and busy city, being adventurous, stepping out of my element and creating pages of words I’d never considered writing before – I felt at home.

Writing is who I am. It took me years to realize I was in love with the way an author could create a vivid image of a fictional character. I was in love with the way a poet could frustrate me to such an extent with half-explanations that could be taken a hundred ways. I was in love with the way journalists could portray a voice in their pieces. I loved it all.

To this day I can’t go 24 hours without writing. A day just doesn’t feel complete without scrawling at least a few lines onto a sheet of paper. My head feels cluttered, and I find characters having conversations with themselves instead of thinking my own thoughts. I find my mind drifting to ideas of the next poem I want to create. I can’t imagine a life without words or expression. Writing is, and always will be, a part of me.

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