Saturday, June 30, 2012

Learning how to write.


“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
—Ernest Hemingway
I’ve always been a writer. My first memory of being seriously obsessed with writing is when I was eleven years old, sitting in our computer room, typing out a ten page “book” about a girl who had Mary-Kate and Ashley-like adventures (I used to be addicted to their movies and paperback books), traveling all over, becoming famous and acting in plays and musicals. I was essentially living out my preteen dreams through the character. As my taste in books matured, so did my writing. I learned tips and tricks from the books I read and the authors whose blogs I followed online. I’d finish a story and think it was perfect, that it could be published that moment and it would be an instant bestseller. I didn’t need anyone else to teach me how to write; I was an expert.

Then I went to Susquehanna.

If you’ve ever met me, you know I will sing the praises of Susquehanna University’s creative writing department until the end of time. Each member of the faculty I’ve come into contact with so far has taught me something different about the writing process, and the other students have knocked me down several pegs during workshops. Thankfully, I’ve never left a workshop in tears! Workshops have made me realize that a story is never really done, especially not after one draft. I’ve put stories up for discussion that have been through four drafts before I was confident enough to let anyone read them.

I value the writing program at Susquehanna so much. Looking at what I’ve written lately in comparison to two years ago, I see a huge difference. I definitely wasn’t born able to write the way I do today. It’s taken a ton of work, several writers block meltdowns, countless conferences with professors, and being torn apart a few times in workshop to get here, and I know I still have a ways to go.

But hey, if you want to think of me as naturally gifted, go right ahead!

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