Despite my “young” age, and my expected lack of life experience, I’ve managed to become more aware of who I truly am, and what I want from life. I say “young;” though I am technically only in my early twenties I have an old soul, and though some might think I’ve experienced little of life, I’ve done more than most. I am part of a generation of explorers, dreamers, wanderers, and seekers. However, we don’t all get to that point and we don’t all get to it relatively early in our lives. For me, what opened me up to my true self is writing.
Throughout school, I was often the quiet kid. I was the one passing underneath everyone’s radar, who kept up her good grades, her extra-curricular activities, and her part-time job. Always the one who did what was expected of her, what was expected to be right. One of the things I’ve come to learn, through writing and other insightful revelations, is that what is right for one person is not always what is right for another. It can even be more harmful than helpful on some occasions.
So I spent most of my free time initially reading. I’d live the lives I could have never imagined. Then one day, I realized that I could write the stories I had been hoping to find. Thus started my journey into the world of writing. With every new story, I’d try something I had never done. I’d find new ways of telling a story through the voices of people I often associated as my own. I was enthralled by the possibility of being able to be anything, anyone, simply with the flick of a wrist and some paper and ink.
Little by little, writing became not my escape, but my place of trial and error. Whenever I’d be frustrated, sad, nervous, ecstatic, I’d write out a scene and play it out. I’d find courage, peace, happiness and truth in the words I brought out from the core of my mind. Being able to exercise these, I would then find courage, peace, happiness and truth in real life; not just in the worlds I was shaping. It was a cathartic experience that motivated me to write out more.
I continued with my love of fiction, fantasy and science fiction, but also entered the world of non-fiction. I wrote out letters, personal essays, works of humour, blogs and, eventually, poetry. I shifted my medium too. I’d write by hand, type on the computer, and later on, completed some of my works on a typewriter, mimicking the art of past writers. The biggest change of including non-fiction in my repertoire is that, for the first time since my debut in writing, I was showcasing myself without the comfort of hiding behind a character I had created. I was slowly becoming more comfortable with who I was, and who I really wanted to be.
Finding such solace in writing, I knew that I had to keep it as part of my life. It extended into a desire to make a career out of it, though I already knew that it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to accomplish either. So I went to university after highschool, and I studied English. I worked part time and full time while studying, and then I found some volunteering opportunities in the literary industry. I reached out to authors, I participated in presentations, conferences, and workshops to learn as much as I could. I followed talks and spent an exhausting amount of work on something I wasn’t sure was going to work. With practice, my skill grew and my craft evolved. I started finding distinctive voices in certain genres and what I found was not only pride in the work, but also pride in myself.
I discovered through my works of fiction that I’m strong, just, and helpful. I discovered through my works of non-fiction that I’m flawed, funny, and true. And I discovered through my poetry that I’m empathic, vulnerable, and connected with the world around me. Even if you don’t intend to make writing your career, it’s a healthy hobby to pick up since it brings you closer to yourself and opens you up to others. And no matter what you choose, as long as it comes from the heart, you will always write right.