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I Stayed True To Myself In My Writing, and It Paid Off

I learned that when my heart was in tune with my writing, that was when I did my best work.

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I Stayed True To Myself In My Writing, and It Paid Off

When I write, my mind is free to wander. It picks up pieces of memories and feelings and mixes them together to create a unique form of self expression that became my outlet for emotional release. I have always done my best work through written pieces, but there was a time in middle school that started me on the path of personal development and self-confidence when it came to my writing. I had never submitted any of my poetry for competitions, but my sixth-grade self wanted to participate in the Reflections Contest as a way to test my ability - I told myself that if I placed, then I would continue to improve my writing and compete in larger competitions with more experienced writers. So that day, I sat down and wrote a short poem about a natural beauty that most people often overlooked when focused on their busy lives: a rainbow. It was a poem that reflected my childlike innocence and naivety - the vocabulary and ideas were simple, but I felt like Shakespeare writing some big masterpiece at the time. Proud of my hard work and clever rhyming scheme, I ran to show my literary genius of a mother expecting her to shower me with compliments. "This isn't good enough to win," she said after quickly skimming through it. "I thought you could write better than this - here, I'll help you." Her words opened a pool of insecurity inside my chest, but I gladly accepted her help. She sat beside me the entire night, changing every bit of my poem to fit her standards. "I want to describe the rainbow within my poem," I had explained to her. "No, don't do that. If you want to win, trust me," she said firmly. After she was done with her "suggestions," I could no longer recognize the poem that I had written - it was all her ideas, her words, and zero of my originality. I was not happy with the poem I had written with her help, so after she went to bed, I stayed up to write a second poem about a second natural beauty: the geese that always flew above our home. This time, I stuck to my own stylistic way of writing, even if I knew my mother would not approve of it. I wanted purely my work to get judged, and this was the only way I knew how to do it. So at school the next day, I submitted both poems to see how they would compare with each other. A few weeks later, I walked by the Reflections board in the hallway to check out the winners. As my eyes slid to the poetry category, I saw my name next to the words "First Place." My heart pounded with joy, and when I checked to see which of my poems had won, I saw the title "Wings of Beauty," which was the poem about geese that I had written without my mother's help. That day, I realized that writing was subjective - every person's style is different, and that's what made this art so communicative. From then on, I have become more self-assured when writing poetry, and have gone on to compete in the Beta State convention and the Georgia Poet Laureate. To this day, I look back on the memory of my first Reflections Contest to remind me where I used to be, and how far I have come.

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