Like many writers, I get asked “what do you write?” all the time. That answer puts you on the spot to sum up your entire literary existence into a few words. “Stories” is pretty apt for me. I recently gravitated to “magical realism” with my novel. I also love realistic short fiction. I love sketch comedy. I have started/want to complete screenplays for TV and Film. At the end of the day, I write stories. I’m a storyteller, whether I’m the writer or the performer. I wish people asked writers why they write. In fact, I wished more people asked people why they chose their particular professions rather than just what they do.
“Why?” forces you to evaluate your inner drive. Personally, I write because it’s come naturally to me. I gravitated toward it. I took advanced English classes all throughout school, but what brought me to writing was venturing off on my own. My imagination fought with me every day in class. My first experience with personal writing was a thirty-page Harry Potter fan fiction collaboration with my friend Jessica in third grade. It involved us saving everyone from an exploding Hogwarts Express, teleporting back in time onto the sinking Titanic, and spells that turned Harry into the three-headed dog, Fluffy.
An instant classic.
I became consumed with telling what happened next and following the narrative wherever it led me. This fanaticism prompted an eight-part handwritten series in seventh grade, totaling 100 handwritten pages– a treasured find on a recent holiday home. I remember coming home from school on nights and cranking out full stories as if the world relied on my words. A whole other world existed in my head, and if I didn’t put it down on paper, I risked losing its reality by the next day. Taking my district’s first Creative Writing class in the fall of my senior year, reminded me of my love for storytelling and pushed me to pursue colleges with that focus.
I write because I want to be remembered. I want to tell grand stories that connect with a wide audience of readers. I want to leave something behind that will live on. As I finished up my time at Columbia College Chicago, being a writer had become a significant part of my personal identity. I committed to myself that I wanted to write and devoted four years to refining my style. When I write, I feel like I’m getting my thoughts out in their truest form. I can be honest and empty my mind.
When I write comedy, my mission is to, first, entertain while also making commentary on the topic discussed. I love crafting Facebook statuses. Social media gives me the platform to shape my comedic style because syntax, diction, and my point-of-view comes into play with each post. The immediate response from newsfeed browsers helps me test what works and what doesn’t. Did the joke/satire land? Overall, I overwrite. Comedy requires a punch. Extra words to tell the joke kills the joke. I’ll admit it: there’s an ego-centered delight that comes from getting a lot of likes on status, especially one you intended to be funny. Also, when an intention of comedy is to reach a large audience, it also means you did something right. That being said, your work should always hold an authenticity to who you are. I write because I’m proud of creating something. I’m not as skilled with physical labor/arts, so let me tell you a story instead. Let my words craft something for you to see, and feel, and know. I write because I feel purpose when I do it. My favorite feeling is a mix between feeling the need to share what I just wrote with someone else and the rush you get from a full theater applauding the story you just performed for them.
Stories have always been a part of my life. I was raised on them around the dinner table, while preparing meals, car rides while running errands, family reunions, passing periods in school. As I get older, the stories become more complex. More details become acceptable for my ears to hear. Full realities fill in the gaps of simple memories told to me as a kid. I look forward to the experiences awaiting me in my life and the stories that will come to me. As a writer, I feel thankful that I almost get to live multiple lifetimes in my one. I write because it feels like I’m getting more out of life with the others I create.
I write because I’m a storyteller. Why do you follow your passion?