The Artful Process of Self-Discovery


I was once told by a teacher of mine that writing was an activity for the solitary mind—“a descent into a cold abyss of one’s self.” I actually find it to be quite the opposite. Over the years, I have realized who I am through writing and discovered a kind, soulful, and thoughtful individual. In many ways, such an art has become more like an incredibly invigorating process of self-discovery for me. Through writing, I’ve understood not just the world around me, but myself and my place in it. Everything I’ve ever written is basically a well documented journey into the syllabus of my own life and all the contributions I’ve made in it.

Every writer begins their journey as a reader, and boy was I a big one! Growing up, I was the little pig-tailed girl who would run into the library much to my librarian’s distress and pick books off the shelf. With more than I could hold in hand, I would reside to a comfortable armchair bigger than myself and fill the spaces in with authors like Charles Dickens, Robert Munsch, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Francine Pascal, and Roald Dahl, just to name a few. Every day would be different but the company would always make me feel the same—happy and eager to go on my own adventures one day much like the characters in so many of the books I loved.

It was during my Grade 1 class that I asked my teacher, Ms. Palermo if we could make our own books and share our own adventures. She thought it was a wonderful idea and a week later, got supplies for the whole class so we could finally put our own ideas to print. I wrote two books that winter of 1992 and it was an enormously beautiful feeling. As a child reading back what you could produce and share with others was an exhilarating moment. Though the story was short and illustrations bordering Picasso, it was fun and something I knew I wanted to do again. Sadly enough, I moved that same year and the new elementary school I attended wasn’t as willing to be creative as my former.

That being said, I was gifted with a diary at the age of eight from my father who told me to “Write what I want”, and I did. At first it became a logbook of novels I collected and then later, pages fell out because, well, that’s what you get for a notebook from the dollar store. When I turned 10, I got another diary for my birthday and this time, I genuinely took it seriously. I would recount the adventures (and misadventures) I would find myself in every day, talk about boys I liked, things I wanted today and for tomorrow, and basically, share how I felt about life. Looking back at this 4″ x 6″ blue diary (that featured a crying clown lady with a cat…don’t ask) has actually been kind of funny and interesting because I wrote about things like school and family, but also things like the OJ Simpson trial, the death of George Burns and Jimmy Stewart, the Bosnian War, movies like Braveheart, and so much more than a kid should know about. Every time I see it, I wonder how old was I really?

I wrote a few poems in my diary and once I got comfortable, ended up reciting them over dinner with family, and sometimes with friends. I didn’t read many poems as a kid, but I did once I became a teenager. Entering the world of poetry was an enchanting one for me. Like mentioned in my previous post, poetry allows us the chance to temporarily close the door on the dullness of our lives, while opening up a window for fresh air that sweeps in with a cool breeze. I’ve found that poetry of all sorts has the ability to lift our spirits and pull us into a deeper comprehension of life and how we truly exist in it. In many ways, it illuminates a different view of life and expands simplicity into these bouncy and whimsical thought-provoking rhythms. It was at the tender age of 13, that I was introduced to Robert Frost (“The Road Not Taken”). Frost has and always will be one of my favorite poets. He showcased this great American culture through his work—one I grew so fascinated with as a teen. A lot of poems were deep, eloquent and highly realistic of life. I love his work and started my own poetry book. I wrote dozens of poems, many of which I lost during our move from a shabby apartment to a respectable and humbling home I have now lived in for more than ten years.

That move—though hard on me and one that tested my friendships—was an essential one, because it got me writing even more. Shortly after high school, I ended up diving into writing a novel of my own, and wrote my first manuscript entitled, “The Hardest Part”. It took me three or four years to complete, and by the time I got all the training and advice to sell a few years after completion, vampires and werewolves were hot commodities in the young adult commercial market. That was a difficult period for me, but I continued to write and gravitated further into poetry. It was more cathartic than anything, with a lot of these poems focusing on causes close to my heart, people I’d meet, love that I felt, and life experienced first-hand.

In 2008 that I was introduced to NBC’s Newsvine, a site for citizen journalism. I took it upon myself to merge my aspirations and interest for people, and share real stories. Besides writing about causes and things I loved, I had the chance to exercise my journalistic skills and wrote my first interview with a budding digital comic artist named Taylour Beadling. Soon I would interview many more individuals, being lucky enough over the years to talk with esteemed performers like Jim Beaver, Fred Armisen, the Property Brothers, a few of the American Idols, and still maintain my identity by showcasing new and amazing talent like Rebecca Kopec, Caileigh Scott, and Andrew Overcash.

It was then that I truly realized my calling in writing. During the summer of 2012, I was at my lowest point in life and felt very alone for reasons I will not discuss, but I did find hope in writing. I was talking to one of my very good friends, Katherine, and I briefly mentioned my dream to create an online magazine focusing on real stories, real people, and a healthy dose of pop culture. In just a few words, she said she would be on board if I went ahead and did it. So I did, and the very next day The Hudsucker was created and we now have over 20 writers who are beautifully talented and creative minds that I equally love and adore. During our first year at The Hudsucker, I was recognized by the International Women’s Media Foundation as an up-and-coming journalist. It was quite the honor, one that I am incredibly humbled by. A year later, I joined the IWMF as a freelance journalist and wrote my first assignment: an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Sure the best writing might be a solitary activity, but it’s in the sharing of words that you find the most meaning. It is through such an artful process that you discover more about yourself and those around you. In fact, every facet of writing I have ever engaged in has shown me who I am and what I am truly capable of. I don’t feel so alone when writing because I know there are others out there with similar thoughts and stories to share. I love writing for others, whether it’s a story, a poem, an interview, or even a blog post like this one or the countless others found in my little nook of the blogosphere. In addition, I’ve found that the best way to find yourself is to do what you love and to lose yourself in the service of others. Not only does that bring meaning, but it brings great inventiveness too. With that knowledge and experience, I know who I am today because of everything I’ve ever written. I write because I want to connect, and connecting is an important part to any aspect of writing and understanding the world around us. A story isn’t a story if it can’t feel real. With writing, it’s important to follow your heart and intuition because not only will you sow great rewards for others in bridging gaps technology has impeded with communication, but you’ll know yourself better than ever and be happy doing what you know.

It was back in January that I vowed to write regularly whether it be a poem, a diary entry, a blog post, an article over at The Hudsucker or the IWMF. I need to keep writing. It’s my lifeblood. And with my journey through writing, I hope to become a well-accomplished journalist and share what I feel is important to readers. Of course it’s important to write for yourself too, but it’s also important to speak up on things that matter in hopes for change and positive progression. I write because there is a need for fresh perspective and insight. As long as life is lived, there is much to write about and be inspired by. We are all here together and by sharing blog posts and stories like this, we’re able to connect with others. Telling our stories isn’t just a fad in blogging, but a way of connecting us to our past and future in order to better who we are. In recent months, I have thought about writing so much more and how much it really means to me. I don’t find it to be a lonely thing at all and my teacher was quite wrong. I love writing! I love writing about a variety of things, and in various forms. In many ways, writing saved me in times of doubt and in times of grief, and such simple crafted words have introduced me to some of the best people; many of whom I love—one in particular who even inspires me to be better every day. (He’s so amazing and beautiful that his very being naturally incites a melody of words.)

Writing is all about passion and love, and in the words of William Wordsworth, it is important to “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” That is the key no matter which way you look at it. I write not because I can and have a platform, but because I know I have a lot to contribute on this planet. Look around with an open mind and heart, and see every ounce of inspiration before your eyes. I have a lot of love in me and though I get smacked left and right from time to time career-wise, writing has been the one true thing I know—the one thing I can rely on. Because of how it makes me feel, what it does, and what I can do with it, I am ever grateful for who I am today and who I aim to be tomorrow.

Inspired by WordPress: {Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections}

Image Credit: Favim
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