I Didn’t Always Want to be a Writer

For the writer filled with self-doubt; it seems as though every other writer has known their entire life that they were born to write.

Like every kid, I lived in a world of my own creation. I crafted intricate stories for my dolls, went on adventures to imaginary lands, played chess with my friend Rainbow and imagined alternate realities for myself. I did not however know I wanted to tell stories for the rest of my life.

I have always loved to read, but I cannot say the same for writing. In school, my teachers always praised my work and I took the highest level English classes I could, but writing was never my passion. In fact, I used to dread writing assignments and felt as though my work was never up to par. I did not want to be a writer. I would complain to my mom saying, “I love to read, but I hate to write.”

When I was six I performed the Lindsay Show for my entire family to watch, swapping in and out of colorful wigs and various costumes. By age ten I went to my first Broadway musical and fell in love. At age fourteen I had one dream I went to Venus and was convinced I was going to be an astronaut. I even had my mom buy me a fancy telescope that resides untouched in our living room. Throughout freshman and sophomore year of high school I decided I should combine my love of adventure with my love of history (and my intense desire to visit Egypt) and become an archeologist. By junior year I had determined I should follow my passion and try to make it on Broadway.

With my path set there was only one thing left to do: find the best musical theatre programs, fill out the Common Application, and schedule auditions. Heading into my senior year, I thought I had it all figured out…until the cast list for the fall show came out. I was vice president of my theatre club, a senior, and admittedly, a favorite of my director. And yet I was cast in the ensemble. This was a turning point for me as I came to the realization that I simply was not talented enough to make it on the Great White Way.

Immediately I began to panic and wonder what my career would be and whether or not the schools I had applied to would be right for me. Amongst fear and anxiety about my future, there was one thing I found solace in, names. I found myself researching the meanings of names and crafting characters for them. For the first time in my life, there was a story inside me demanding to be unleashed. Never before had I written recreationally. Yet here I was, ending each day with an additional 2,000 words.

My new career path was set, and I was lucky enough to have Ithaca on my list of colleges. Not only is it a top-notch musical theatre school, but it also has an impressive creative writing program. One thing did gnaw at me though, and that was how new I was to writing. Most authors say they always knew they wanted to be a writer, but not me. Instantly I was filled with self-doubt, wondering if I had jumped head first into yet another career path that would inevitably fall through.

As the year rolled on and I shared my work in my A.P. English class, receiving, positive feedback from my teacher and peers, the self-doubt began to disappear. It did not matter that I was not one of those writers who had always known this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Whether I knew it or not, I was always a writer. The only difference was now I had a story I wanted to write and the motivation to write it. For those of you who have always wanted to be writers I envy the fact that you’ve had more time with your passion. For those of us who have recently decided to be writers, it’s important to remember we’ve always been writers; the only thing that’s changed is we’re now storytellers as well.

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