Those of you who have read my previous editorial may remember that I’m passionate about protecting the environment, but something you may not know about me is that I am equally passionate about writing.
Maybe that’s obvious because I’m writing for The Spectrum, but my passion has been growing since long before I entered college. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a proclivity for reading and writing. I can’t go anywhere without a book and some pen and paper in case I get any bursts of inspiration. My writing journey started with song lyrics (I was quite the little pop star when I was in kindergarten), then grew to include short stories, poems, and the beginnings of books.
Even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since a young age, that passion hasn’t always been easy to remember. As I write this, I’m winding down after a night of several meetings, all of which involved writing of some kind. One was for my internship (I’m an editor for MUD Magazine), another was for my local library’s monthly writing group, and the last was for the English Club here at SHU. All three are absolutely wonderful, and I love being a part of them, but I must admit that being a writer can be tiresome and difficult at times.
For one, writing is very lonely. What begins as an eager journey to have my voice heard through writing can quickly become a long and solitary one, especially because not everyone understands why I enjoy reading or writing so much. When I tell people I’m an English major with minors in French and writing, they usually give me a wide-eyed response that goes something like, “Wow, good for you. I could never be an English major” or “I can’t imagine how hard that must be. I hate reading.”
To some, reading and writing are chores that they’d rather not do. And here I am, doing both for fun.
Being a writer can also mean it’s hard to fit in with or make time for others, especially if they’re not used to my sudden bursts of inspiration when I scramble to find a pen and paper (or a napkin…or my hand), or when I tell my friends to wait just a moment because I’m at the conclusion of a gripping scene and just have to finish it (and then rant about it to anyone who will listen, of course).
Fortunately, the writing journey doesn’t feel like that all the time. Mostly, it’s fun and exciting and rewarding.
I’m lucky enough to be able to call myself a published author in the sense that several of my works have been in literary magazines, The Spectrum and MUD Magazine. But I’m still optimistic that I can reach the ultimate goal of publishing a book, which, in my eyes, would make me a “true” published author.
I want to be able to make a positive impact on people’s lives through the words I write on a page and the characters I create. I get ideas for new stories all the time, but I’ve tried to focus on one series that I started writing the summer after eighth grade graduation. That’s over five years of hard work, and despite how far I’ve come since then, sometimes it feels as though I’ve made very little progress.
It takes a lot of time to write a book, but it takes even longer to get it published. First, I have to decide if I want to self-publish or find a traditional publisher. Both require a lot of time and effort (and money), but I’m opting for a traditional publisher.
However, to get to that point, I need to find a literary agent…which requires networking, going to writers’ conferences, and joining writing groups like the one at my library. Not to mention having a completed manuscript that’s been edited about a million times, asking beta readers to give it a test read, and writing a query letter.
Maybe that’s all meaningless gibberish to you. For a while, it was to me, too. In fact, I never wanted to be published in the first place. I just wanted to write a book by myself, for myself, so I never paid much attention to the publishing process. It wasn’t until my book really started to expand and some of my friends read excerpts that I realized I wanted to share it with the world.
While I’m confident that I can achieve my goal of becoming a “true” published author, I know that there’s a long and bumpy road ahead of me. Even though attending all these writing-based meetings and working as a writer and editor are great places to start, they also remind me of how much more work I need to do and how much I have yet to learn.
I’m nowhere near reaching my ultimate goal, but I’ll keep going because I’m doing what I love. And I hope that with more hard work, dedication and imagination, I can someday introduce myself as Jill Amari, author.