Prompt: Write an essay on the dreams you had for further education when you were in secondary school. In your essay, include three challenges you faced in keeping those dreams alive as well as three ways you worked towards realizing those dreams.
In high school, I was not interested in much else besides writing. Other subjects seemed dry, just about memorization. In writing, I could express myself and be creative. It had an openness to it that other subjects did not have—at least in my perspective at the time.
Around 16 years old, I began to write poetry on a regular basis and eventually incorporated stories into my repertoire. From that time forward, I knew I wanted to study writing and literature in college. There was no doubt that I wanted to be a writer—every other subject was boring to me.
I saw many pathways for my career after college: being a journalist, being a book editor, being a novelist, being a writing teacher, being a teacher of English, and so on. But there were several obstacles that were in my way in having a future writing career.
My mother was against me becoming a writer, as my father was a writer, and they had a troubled marriage, resulting in divorce. My father would go on long writing trips, leaving us at home. Also, my mother attributed my father’s in-and-out depression to writing. There are many negative stereotypes about writers, and unfortunately, my father had lived out some of them.
Though my mother allowed me to go to college eventually for writing, she was in constant disagreement with my choice. In addition, my stepfather, who I was living with at the time, continually stated that my chosen profession would not make any money and that I should be more practical.
Besides parental disagreement, I had the pressure from American society’s ideal of being a man and how writing poetry was not a manly activity. Throughout my secondary school, there was a pressure to do something else besides poetry, as I was called a “girly guy,” “gay” or “fruity” by my classmates, friends, and even my parents. In American society, especially with teenagers, males are not supposed to show their emotions and be open in their expression. I believe I had a lack of friends due to my interest in being a writer, and from the act of writing itself, which is often done in solitude.
And that brings me to my next struggle. Throughout my college years, I had bouts of depression due to being away from friends and being closer to books than people for at least two years: my junior and senior year of my bachelor’s degree. Being mostly alone, occupied by my writing projects, the ups and downs of depression my father had was seemingly inherited by me.
Once out of college, obstacles did not stop giving me trouble. Finding a job was not easy, especially in the financial crisis of 2008. I took low-paying jobs as a tutor and freelance writer for a few years before I could get stable office jobs. I had to live with many people in one house to pay the rent and paid for food communally. But after I got an internship and later was offered to be hired as a staff writer at a scientific report writing company, I finally became a professional writer. I was no longer working as a part-time tutor or freelance writer, but was offered my own desk, computer, and stack of research to pore through.
After receiving this position, I did not look back. I became a book editor, book marketer, and now a content coordinator for websites. How did I achieve a full-fledged career as a writer and editor?
From the time I was about 24 years old and onward, I wrote every single day. I did not let myself go to sleep without writing a poem, a story, a part of a novel, or ideas for future writing projects. This consistency in practice aided me in improving my writing skills continually.
I also kept in touch with mentors on a regular basis. I communicated, and still communicate, with my poetry mentor often. Having a master of writing look over your work and supply feedback is crucial for making progress in one’s writing skills.
From college and after, I have made many writing friends. I keep in contact with these writing friends on a daily basis through emails, online forums, and in-person meetings. Getting constructive criticism almost daily has given me the perspective I need to edit and revise my work to have it ready for publication in journals, books, and other publications.
Being a writer is definitely hard work, but I believe that if one loves writing enough, one can make a career as a writer. Through the obstacles of parental disagreements, standards of American society, depression from solitude, and working at low-paying jobs hardly enough for living, the love of writing has carried me.
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