Today I wanted to discuss something that I have never previously talked about in detail on my blog: my personal writing. I mentioned in my post about why I started my blog (go check that out!) that I liked to write and starting this blog has been an outlet for that, but I never really dug deeper into my other writing experience and projects. Part of the reason for that is that I really don’t have a lot of concrete experience; I’ve just always enjoyed putting ink to paper and jotting down any thoughts I have. However, I thought I would just talk about my writing a little more and throw it out there for any fellow aspiring writers to read and maybe relate to.
My love for writing sprung from English class and a childhood love of reading; I’ve always been sort of a geek in that way, but I just LOVED English and diving into new books, whether they were school-required novels or books I picked up at the library to read for fun. I don’t read as much now unless it is for school just because of my busy schedule, but I’ve re-read a decent amount of my old favorite books this summer. Since I loved to read so much, English has always been my favorite class. Once I got into middle school and English class ventured more into writing assignments/essays, I fell in love with writing as well. I was a meticulous journal-keeper from the ages 5-8, but I had little writing experience other than that until middle school.
Any essay or paragraph writing assignment I had, I would spend the most time on out of any of my other homework. I would analyze every word I used (I wish I still had time to do that when I write!) and I could proof-read and edit for hours. I always did pretty well on these assignments as a reflection of my hard work, and in eighth grade a couple of my pieces got selected by my honors English teacher for our school’s literary magazine- I still have the paper copy of it in my closet somewhere. Last year (freshman year of high school), essays became more of a nerve-wracking task. Most of the ones we wrote were timed in-class essays; we had 45-50 minutes to complete them and rather than being exciting as all other writing assignments had always been, they made me nervous and I dreaded them. I learned to work with the time constraint and I still usually did pretty well grade-wise on them, but it wasn’t as fun as when I could take my time.
I still loved my 9th grade honors English teacher and all of the literature we read in that class; however, it wasn’t fulfilling my love of writing in the same way due to the fast pace of assignments and the fact that outside of essays, we didn’t really write that much. I started to seek out other ways to write for pleasure and express that part of myself. I discovered a whole new world of people publishing their writing in teen literary journals online, and began reading some beautiful works. I started to read poetry and attempt writing my own- I even submitted a couple poems (not sure how good they were..) to some of the literary journals I stumbled upon; I haven’t heard back from any yet since it wasn’t too long ago, but I’ll give an update eventually.
Finding all of these fellow writers and reading their AMAZING work was a blessing but also a curse in some ways. My work paled in comparison to theirs; I’ve always been strong in essay writing and I used to jot down little anecdotes about my life in journals, but I’m not the best at shaping creative ideas into something beautiful like all of these poets and storywriters that I was coming across. There was also the fact that I just didn’t have a lot of time inbetween cheer, homework, and volunteering to really hone the craft and keep writing (both for fun and to build my skills). I tried to set aside a little bit of time for writing each day and I’m still currently doing so, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I try to make up for this by reading other works when I have a spare moment in the car or looking things up related to writing on my phone, but I know the best way to gain more experience is to just sit down and write. I’ve been trying to make that more of a priority.
Lastly, I want to mention a specific teen literary publication: Polyphony Lit. I stumbled upon Polyphony somehow (I honestly don’t remember how) and I LOVED the way they were running things. They’re run mainly by high schoolers that sign up to be editors and give feedback on all the submissions (you move up in ranks the more you edit/improve/stay on the staff), ultimately choosing which pieces to put in their publication for the year and returning the rest with a bunch of feedback so the writers can improve! Since anyone can sign up to be the lowest rank of editor, I signed up and did a trial edit assignment; they accepted me and as soon as I return from cheer camp, I will be tackling my first submission! Before I signed up, I also submitted one of my own pieces- it wasn’t the best so I don’t have high hopes, but I haven’t heard back from them yet so who knows. I also purchased their most recent edition of the magazine/book. I devoured it within an hour or two- the people featured in it are truly so talented and all of the pieces were amazing. I highly recommend checking them out for yourselves.
I hope you guys enjoyed learning about my experiences with creative writing! I’m trying to spend more time on my writing and I have a few ideas/pieces I want to work on in mind and possibly submit to publications later, so I’ll probably give updates on those at some point. Let me know if you have any questions or would like more posts related to writing! I’m not an expert or a full-on author by any means, but I would love to chat with other writers. I’ll be back with more exciting content soon!