By Megan Malone
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Although it appears simple from the outside, it’s the ultimate, most overwhelming question! Especially when you’re thinking about how to include what you enjoy, whether that’s writing, editing, or reading. If it’s sitting heavy on your shoulders, you’re not alone. But, there’s good news! Being a literature lover opens up countless doors, and the path you take may be an unexpected one. I encourage you to ask around to learn firsthand from other writers.
You’re in the right place for that! I had a chat with two awesome members of the Young Eager Writers team for their thoughts and advice. Meet Damien Holland and Aina Aleeya!
Question 1. What part of writing are you most interested in/enjoy the most?
Aina Aleeya: “As someone who has always enjoyed reading and writing fiction, I'm currently most interested in learning how to world build through my writing and the different forms that can take. It's actually my greatest challenge which is why I'm most keen to really dig into that aspect of writing. I'm also really curious about the different ways an author can structure their writing. Recently, I've read the This Mortal Coil series which was written in the present tense which differed from books I regularly read in the past tense and now I'm reading 'If You Leave Me' which is written by rotating through each main character's perspective each chapter. I want to learn how to apply this to my own writing and how I could enhance a story by varying the structure in which it's told. Above all, what I enjoy the most is seeing characters come to life and living the story that they were made for. As challenging as fictional writing is, I really enjoy the rewards it brings through the stories it creates.“
Damien Holland: “I adore all types of writing. In the last year alone, I've dabbled in creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction. Of course, editing as well with the YEW Journal and my previous position as EIC of my university's creative arts journal.
Since graduating college in May, I've realized that I'm a little burnt out from writing. My fiction thesis was intensive, so all of my writing power has been going towards that! I think it's important to recognize that writer's blocks will come and go, and sometimes it'll be for a few hours and others for a few months, or longer. Personally, I just try to make sure that I'm doing bookish work. If writing is tough, then I'll go after more editing or reading. Editing especially has been taking my heart these last few months. I've been so enamored by other people's words and their creativity, that editing has brought me the most enjoyment. I'm so excited to see what other beautiful pieces I come across next!”
Question 2. How do you plan on incorporating these things into your future, through career or other ways?
Aina Aleeya: “I'm going to be doing a psychology degree and although I don't know where that's going to take me in life, I believe it'll really help me with my writing aspirations.
I do hope to publish a novel in the future. By using the knowledge of what goes on in the human mind and the way it functions, I hope to create characters that really resonate with the reader and are multilayered and complex. I want to be able to write stories that people can resonate with on a deeper level and share stories beyond my own.
Besides that, writing is such an applicable skill. With fictional writing, I believe the imagination needed for it is helpful in thinking beyond the box when it comes to problems or possibilities. With non-fictional writing, I hope to continue writing reviews and analyses for many forms of media- I think it's really interesting to see how I interpret it compared to the way someone else does. Regardless of what happens, I just know that writing will find its way in my life one way or another, it's how I let it take form which is the adventure.”
Damien Holland: “I think that it's crucial for bookish folks to recognize that it can be useful when you're stuck in a creative block. With it, you can try something new to refresh your mind. We are so imaginative, and that can lead to beneficial flexibility among publishing. I know that in my future, I have writing, editing, and publishing abilities and thus can experience and achieve more within this field! I'm especially excited to see my future when it comes to further education. When I go into graduate school, I'll have the ability to hone in on all of these aspects! That knowledge will really help me to continue leading young writers along their writing journeys.”
Thank you for your time and thoughtful replies, Aina and Damien! I learned a lot. If you enjoyed reading their interviews, be on the lookout for their future work here at YEW!
1. Take advantage of your writer's block!
Despite how disheartening a writer’s block can be in the moment, think of it as an opportunity to grow! Be easy on yourself and refresh yourself with something new, like editing, publishing, teaching, and reading. Take full advantage of your idle creativity to expand your skillset! Then, get back to writing... when you’re ready.
2. Even if your career path doesn’t directly focus on writing, it doesn’t make you any less of a writer.
In fact, it can make you a better writer! In Aina’s case, she’s planning on taking full advantage of her interest in psychology by applying it to her writing. Prepare for well-developed characters with realistic thoughts! Even careers that don’t have writing benefits at a first glance can help. Say you work as a cashier and meet lots of new people. You can take note of who you meet, and what makes someone stand out. You could have a character inspired by them someday!
3. Writing can be used anywhere!
No matter where you go, your writing is valuable! You could become a computer programmer, and still be able to put your writing talent to great use by typing up stellar reports. Writing is your door to communication, and communication is the key to success!
Don’t worry if you don’t have it figured out yet. If you enjoy writing, then writing will find its way into your future no matter what. You never know you’ll go next, so just keep searching, seek guidance from others, and enjoy the ride!