I suppose it all starts with books. Sometimes I find it really hard to read good books. I went through a period of a couple of years in high school where I would get no further than two or three pages into a novel before closing the cover and opening my laptop to start my own creative venture. Words naturally inspire me – I can’t get enough of them. The idea of stringing sentences together to create a feeling or a sense of place boggles my mind. This all being said, I honestly believe that writing is something that can be learned, and something that we have to fight for if we believe in the power of words.
As a young kid, I loved creativity and I loved stories. Apparently I had memorised my favourite book (including where to turn the pages and what words to accent) before I turned two. I couldn’t get enough of dolls or ‘make believe’ games, and I loved making up characters and giving my toys unique names.
I guess my love of stories and spelling abilities led my school to believe that they should advance me in English classes. When I was in Kinder, Year 1 and 2 they would send me to the next year group to learn the harder concepts. I loved the fact that they considered me ‘smart’ enough to learn with the bigger kids. Even at this early age I took a great deal of pride in my work, and their affirmation was so encouraging. One day they called myself and another girl into a room. They commended her on her efforts and told her she could continue ‘going up’ for English and then turned to me and said, ‘sorry Lauren but you’re going to stay in Year 2 English for now. I don’t think you’re ready for this yet.’ I remember saying, ‘I think I am’ (an assertiveness that still surprises me) but she shook her head and opened the door for me.
It seems like such a petty thing, but being given an opportunity and then having that opportunity stripped from you is discouraging and it was damaging for my confidence. When I was in Year 7, we had the opportunity to place ourselves in a top, middle or low class. I selected the top class with every bit of confidence that I had, and I was later told that my Year 6 teacher, who I loved, had suggested that they put me in the middle class. This time, I fought for it and I approached the head of the English department – albeit, entering her office in a complete mess of tears, explaining that I was good enough. After some consideration, she agreed to let me in and I never looked back. Her belief in me spurred me on, and I decided that I was going to be the best student in her class. I’m not sure if I was – but I honestly believe that my journey with writing begun here, with her confidence in me. I went on to complete Extension 2 English in my HSC, and scored in the top 2% of students in the state. As a disclaimer, I don’t mention this to brag. I mention this because I honestly believe that success in your passions is a choice, and writing is one of my biggest and longest running passions.
I went into university to do a Communication and Media Studies degree, and within the first semester it was clear to me that I wanted to major in Journalism. The idea of getting paid to write is amazing to me, and the multitude of online resources that are around these days mean that I get to publish my own written content for free. This is such a blessing!
These days, I still write. I write for my university magazine, I write short stories, longer stories (though most of them are unfinished), blogs, diaries, lengthy letters and I’ve even had the opportunity to write news bulletins for my local radio station. Last year, two friends and I also started an online based magazine called Winsome, which you can check out by clicking these links to our website and Facebook page if you’d like to.
As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s good to be proud of your achievements and as silly as it sounds, it’s important to be actively passionate about your passions! I challenge you to write your own post about your journey with writing, if you blog. It’s great to reflect on our journeys and see where we’ve come from, and acknowledge (even if only to ourselves!) the people who have encouraged us along the way. If you do write a post, link it in the comments below or tag it with ‘My Writing Journey’! I’d love to read it.
— Lauren x
P.s. As a side note, I’d just like to mention that to this day I have incredibly fond memories of my school experience. I think everyone looks back at certain moments in their schooling and thinks, ‘mmm I didn’t like that’, but I have to admit that 99% of mine was absolutely wonderful! I wouldn’t change it for the world.