Writing has always been a part of me. My first story was written on scraps of scratch paper that I stapled together into a book. With my four-year-old vocabulary (and help from my mom) I hand wrote a 5 sentence story about an egg in a nest high up in a tree. In elementary school I wrote and “illustrated” stories for the school’s Young Author Contest and took home the “Newbery Medal” almost every year. (Notice my drawings received no accolades. I’m still not much of an artist!) I wrote about a lost bird in first grade. In fourth it was a story about a girl who helped a town run by cats with environmental cleanup. In fifth I took readers on a journey out of slavery via the underground railroad. I honestly have no idea why I chose these topics as a kid, but I guess I haven’t changed much!
I had the chance to write a “novel” in eighth grade that encompassed the 20th Century. I’m pretty sure I only got an A because I completed the assignment and wrote triple the word count required. To my dismay my teacher read ALL of our novels while chaperoning the end of the year trip to to Valley Fair–the local amusement park. There’s no way she actually read the whole story I so lovingly wrote.
In high school I took creative writing and journalism classes and started writing for the school newspaper my senior year. My teachers told me I had a gift.
And yet, when I went to college, I shied away from a writing major. It seemed too impractical. How could I pursue a career in something that seemed more fun than work?
However, it only took a year and a half for me to change from the vague communications major to journalism. And I was soon writing news and feature articles for the campus newspaper. I was energized by interviewing students and faculty and found a thrill in pursuing controversial topics.
I started blogging when I went to Lithuania for a semester. It was a wonderful way to process my experience and share my thoughts with my loved ones at home. When I returned home, I didn’t want to stop blogging. So I kept at it. I wrote mostly about faith and topics of interest to my Christian community. I kept this up for four years, and only stopped because my blog mysteriously disappeared. (Miscommunication about web hosting, etc.)
I added a reconciliation studies major near the end of my college career when I realized that the brokenness and injustice in our world was the result of people disregarding our shared humanity. I wanted to be part of a movement to heal the world through reconciling human relationships. This turned into a lens through which I see the world. I see writing as a vehicle to affect change in our world.
My writing biography continues… (if you’re still reading, you’re probably my mother. Hi Mom!)
I served with AmeriCorps for a couple years, during which I edited and managed the publishing process for a book of refugee narratives. It’s called This Much I Can Tell You: Stories of Courage and Hope from Refugees in Minnesota.
After that, I worked at a small community newspaper and worked part time as a publishing project manager with Huff Publishing Associates. (I’m still doing work with HPA, but now as the social media manager.)
Now, I’m a curriculum developer at sparkhouse, in the children’s faith formation department. I’m also doing some freelance writing and editing.
So, as you can see, writing started as a hobby and it wound its way into my career. It doesn’t always flow unhindered, but I know writing is in my veins. I don’t write this to brag or to try to make myself sound like a writing expert (I realize writing credits that start in preschool don’t really count). I write this to share why I write.
I write because I am a writer.
Writing is a part of me and without it, I wouldn’t be myself. I write because of who I am.
Why do you write? When did you first realize you were a writer?