For some of you, the journey to discovering that you were born to communicate probably didn’t happen overnight. It may have come as a quiet nagging voice that just wouldn’t go away, until you finally just succumbed to the inevitable.
For others, you may have known almost since you were born that you had something to say to the world—and darn it—they better get ready to hear it. That’s kinda what happened to me. Being a writer was something I aspired to as a child. It was something I dreamed of for hours on end; telling stories, communicating ideas, reaching people and changing their lives. That’s what I wanted more than anything. I just wanted to make a difference.
As a child, I knew what I wanted, and I put everything I had towards becoming that. I poured my soul into words. They weren’t great words. They weren’t wonderful stories. But that wasn’t the point, because they were mine. To ten-year-old me, this was the perfect life.
It’s funny, though, the way growing up works. As a ten-year-old, I thought things would get better. Easier. Clearer. I thought I’d be a published author by at least fourteen—if I was slow. Well, guess what? I’m nearly twenty and I still have not published a work of fiction. And I’m glad.
Growing up was nothing like I thought it’d be. Things didn’t get clearer. They certainly didn’t get easier—and—at the time, I didn’t think they were better. Sometimes they weren’t.
Instead, my vision got blurry. The road got rocky, and I felt like a much older person than fifteen. There were a hundred new things to worry about, and a thousand new things to confuse me. I wasn’t sure what I should do—what I could do. I wasn’t even sure who I was.
I had labels like “friendly”, “amusing”, “creative”, “smart”, and, “that-writer-girl”—things people told me I was. Things I could barely believe sometimes. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t find myself particularly funny, and my muse was gone. Smart was a stretch, because I couldn’t figure out my own life. And writing? Well, fourteen was passed. Maybe I wasn’t the “good writer” everybody thought I was.
I became very discouraged. What if I wasn’t who everyone thought I was—or wanted me to be? Maybe that was why I felt like I had no friends in high school. Maybe I just wasn’t living up to people’s standards.
When I was sixteen, something happened that started a transformation in me. It began to change me from the insecure child to the determined woman I am now. I’ve talked about the One Year Adventure Novel Curriculum before, and when I say it changed my life—I’m dead serious.
It gave me the connections and the tools I needed to develop my voice as a novelist, which, by extension, helped me see the world in a new light. It helped me to understand myself and the things I wanted to say.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy. There were still many times when I felt like I had to be the kind of writer someone else told me to be—that I had to write a certain kind of material that was “the right thing”. There were still times when I lost track of myself amidst the pressures of others.
And the reality is—that’s an ongoing thing. There will always be pressures put on me to “do this” or “be that” or “write this way”, but OYAN got me to think differently about writing. It unleashed a creativity that wasn’t even close to being there before.
It helped me realize that I’d spent years trying hard to become something that I already was: a writer. Today, writing is still my passion, but now I’ve found my muse—and it’s you. Every day, I get excited about you and the potential you have to make a difference with your voice.
And I’m going to cry over this, because, as hard as my journey has been towards understanding who I really am and what I was really meant to do—I am so thankful. You are an incredible, creative person, and I want to see you succeed to the maximum. I want to see you as the person you were created to be: one who lives each day incandescently.
And the journey to fully discovering and maximizing the creative power of your voice matters—to me yes, and more importantly—to those whom you will impact in the future. Are you ready to take that journey together?