If you've listened to music in 2017, I'm pretty sure you heard the song "Writer in the Dark" by singer-songwriter Lorde from her hit album Melodrama. Although the song, along with the rest of the album, is a lyrical masterpiece, it's not the only reason why I titled my blog as such.
Here's some historical context. Read on if you don't cringe looking at the word "historical" because it reminds you of twelfth grade history exams.
As a child, I wrote songs about the most random things. I wrote about fireflies and trips to Peru although I've never been. My middle school English teachers always complimented my writing, and I didn't think much about it until I joined a national short story writing contest in the sixth grade. I thought, "Hey, I like to write and apparently I'm okay at it, so why not give it a try?" So, I did, and I ended up winning. The win wasn't what pushed me into writing though. My sixth grade English teacher Mrs. Khoury got me the first two books of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth to congratulate me on my win. She also wrote me a note that had a quote by Stephen King, and said how the scariest part about writing is the first blank page. It's a writer's worst fear, and she was right. Even in high school, my English teacher Mrs. Najjar encouraged me to keep on writing. When I read Divergent, I was completely mesmerized by the story. I thought, "This is how I want people to feel when they read my work. I want them to feel like they're a part of the story, and that without them, the story doesn't even matter."
Regardless, I always felt insecure about showing other people my own work. I only did it when it had to be graded. I never showed my family, friends, and teachers any of my personal work. It made me feel exposed and vulnerable, and I wasn't ready to show everyone my coping mechanism. My writing is a part of who I am: the way I phrase things is unique to me. I feel like it's the only thing that sets me apart from everyone else, and I wasn't ready to let go of that.
Because of that and my overwhelming school work, I wrote almost the entirety of my first novel at night. I felt comfortable writing in the dark with just the light coming from the Notes app on my phone for me to see. Writing in the dark was my safe space. It made me comfortable, which, in turn, made my ideas flow faster. I write by imagining the scenario. I see my story as a movie, and then I translate it into words. That's always been my thought process, and writing in the dark helped me see my stories more clearly. The darkness adjusted my vision. It sounds weird when I read it out loud, but it's the truth. I became, both literally and figuratively, a writer in the dark. I wrote in darkness, and I kept what I wrote in the dark.
Fast forward to my first semester in college, my wonderful writing professor, Professor O'Donnell, said: "Every writer needs a reader." on the first day. She was right. What's the point of me writing if other people don't get to read it? What impact will I have if I can't make people feel, question, and explore? Writing may be my way of dealing with the people and places around me, but it shouldn't be just mine. It should have a purpose, and after much self-reflection, I decided that it's purpose is to change something in someone. I don't necessarily have to change people's opinions and get them to switch sides, and someone's opinion doesn't need to match mine. I can change their mood, for example. I can change something, no matter how tiny that change may be. Life is about growth. I can't grow as a passionate writer if I don't have an audience to learn from. Being a good writer requires having an open, ready-to-learn mindset.
I'm ready now.
i write about everything.