A guest blog by Jessica Kotnour
The 2015 Writers Conference is over. See Conference Photographer, Mimi Carroll's pictures (photo sales that benefit future MCWC programming) and see Mimi's website for more of her work.
In elementary school, I wrote because I had to. Half an hour each day was set aside for writing in our composition books. For the first time in my life, I was writing. I was forced to create something that I only thought adults could do. At this point in my life, the books that the class mom read out loud every Friday inspired me. We read The Phantom Tollbooth, and I was captivated by the cleverness of the language. The adventures that took place in Pendragon series made their way into my writing, as I started to write a “novel” that included trolls, a secret mission, and an underwater highway that connected the United States and England.
In middle school, I left my mandated writing behind. I left my tiny, no-shoes-in-the-classroom Montessori school for a collared-shirt-wearing college prep school. Although I was no longer forced to write, I found myself filling up pages of journals because I needed something to hold onto from elementary school. I knew one person at my new school, and I wrote because I was scared to death. I started to write whatever I was feeling. Inspired by the uncertainty in my surroundings, I wrote in order to process what was happening around me.
In high school, I became exposed to a plethora of different authors and writing styles. I fell in love with the stream of consciousness in To the Lighthouse, the deceptive simplicity of Emily Dickinson’s poems, and the foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities. Reading these different works, I began to take my own writing more seriously. I started to experiment with different types of writing; blogging, poetry writing, and attempting NaNoWriMo. I tried to combine the things that I liked in the works that I was reading with the thing that had always been in my writing—my need to write in order to process new experiences. I started making my own experiences into something that others could enjoy instead of just for my own benefit.
Now, I write because it is engrained in me. There is nothing else that makes me feel more at home than when I have my dog at my feet, a blanket wrapped around me, a mechanical pencil in my hand, and my words on a sheet of paper.
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