My Journey Chasing My Creative Writing Dream

My Journey Chasing My Creative Writing Dream

Remembering how I started my writing path.

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Even though I've always read lots of books, I only wrote short stories. When I was growing up, I used to think that books had to be a certain way. The main thing was that they had to be long, between 20 and 30 chapters. I couldn't understand why I couldn't make my work long enough to be a book.

I didn't really think I had any kind of story to tell. I just wrote about what I wanted: to find love. I didn't even read a lot of romance books. I didn't know how people fell in love. Movies and music talked about love, but only after the fact of love occurring. It wasn't explained what it was or how to get there. Love is my ultimate forbidden fruit.

I wrote my very first story in the fourth grade. I was relentlessly teased by my peers growing up — switching schools made no difference — I was still called the same names. So I wrote a story advising kids to stand up to those who tease them.

The drawings were laughable, the "content" (if one could've called it that) was completely juvenile and silly. Yet, I was so proud of myself for writing something that looked like a book. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

After that, my stories were based on falling in love with popular and unattainable high school guys. When I didn't feel like writing a whole story, but still wanted to express my feelings, I started writing poetry as well. I have a poetry book that gave me the basic format for writing poetry. I've pretty much stuck to that guide ever since — except the rhyming.

I graduated from a performing arts high school. For years I majored in drama. And though we read excellent plays and learned the basics of putting a play together, it wasn't writing.

I wanted to improve my stories and write more poetry. I begged one of the English teachers to find a way to make writing an official major at our school. Of course I was met with a lot of naysaying.

"Everyone can write! That's not a talent!"

"That's boring!"

"Who would want to major in that?"

However, I wrote a short story based off a random prompt, and was one of the first few to be accepted into the creative writing program. My graduating class was the first class to graduate having creative writing majors.

One of the first things I learned was to not rhyme anymore! It was sad I lost that skill though because it’s actually extremely difficult to do, and I would've liked to have continued challenging my command of language that way. But the four years I spent as a creative writing major opened my eyes to the real possibility that maybe I could be a writer someday.

My stories became longer, more involved, and erotic. The characters didn't seem so one dimensional anymore. The chapters become longer. I gathered the courage to let my friends read some of them. I would reread poems I wrote and not believe I had wrote something like that. I started editing old stories and editing as I wrote new stories.

It took me half to a whole semester to write a story, so sometimes I'd write more than one story at a time. I threw away the first story I ever wrote about teasing.

I remember planning my future writing corporation. I had a vision board full of all the services I'd offer, and a personal list of achievements. First I would graduate high school, then get my Bachelor’s in English, then get a Master’s in English, then get a PhD in English. I'd know every word in the world and be super qualified to run my business and help others.

Of course as reality and life caught up to my imagination, all my dreams fell away. Who becomes a famous writer only writing poetry and short stories? Especially stories about love and sex? I idolize Emily Dickinson but this isn't the 1800s anymore where poets and playwrights and essayist's ruled the world with their words. This isn't the early 1900s where the poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance gave notice to the words and stories of people of color.

I was on my own.

I sometimes think that because there's few that have currently found success the way I want to that perhaps the whole dream is not attainable. I don't want nor do I need to be overflowing in money to be considered successful. I just want to live comfortably doing what I love. Sharing my desires in a creative way. Helping others do the same. That's all I want. I also fear that maybe people were right and writing isn't a real talent.

My high school had artists, singers, dancers, instrumentalists, actors, they even added photography as a major (which was met with the same naysaying my major received). Writers didn't seem to fit into such a talented set of people. Yet year after year, I still plug away. Hoping that one day I'll run into the successful woman I always wanted to be and become her.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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