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A Lifetime of Writing

I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, which is at least as far back as kindergarten when I entered my first Illinois Young Authors’ Contest*.

My first story was, rather fittingly, about our family’s ski trip earlier in the year. On the pages of the short non-fiction story (which I’m fairly certain my mother did the handwriting for), I drew stick figures of people on chairlifts and skiing. My parents bound the book in cardboard covered in old wallpaper.

I continued to enter the Young Authors’ Contest and in fifth grade, I won the competition with a horror story about a birthday party (loosely based on the weird coincidences that happened at my own party).

In high school and college, I wrote for the school newspaper and I earned my bachelor degree in journalism.

What do you like most about your writing?

I have always gravitated towards non-fiction writing and stories. I enjoy writing as a medium to convey a topic or describe a person or place. I like when people feel that I have accurately captured someone, and I love being able to make a normal person the star of their own story.

I like being able to describe a place in a way that makes someone want to go there or try an activity. I like that I can clearly explain things through writing to other people.

Writing allows the writer time to choose their words carefully and the English language provides an extensive set of options with which to express oneself. I like when I know I have chosen the right set of words to convey or evoke a specific feeling.

How do you feel about writing? Are you confident with your writing, and if so, what do you like about it?

*The Illinois Young Authors’ Contest has been running for more than 45 years for the state’s K-8 students. It culminates each year with a conference for the winners to meet published authors and hear how they approach writing.

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