Write Your Own Story

In the third grade, I wrote my first non-fiction story. It was about a horse named Heather. And a detective. Maybe the detective’s name was Heather. Anyway, somebody’s name was Heather because that was the name of my friend for the week. I didn’t have many friends growing up. Rarely more than one friend at once.

I found out then that I really enjoyed writing. I loved telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. There was something so rewarding about being in control of an outcome.

Throughout grade school I was tasked with writing everything from fiction to poetry, essays to research papers. I never disliked this type of assignment because I felt it allowed me to get my point across using my own words, as opposed to multiple choice tests, which forced me to think inside of a box.

In the early 2000s, I began blogging in an attempt to find a space for all of the thoughts in my head. I kept various blogs on formats like Blogspot and Xanga throughout high school and college, learning a little HTML along the way.In

Senior year of college I elected to take Creative Nonfiction with author Sonya Huber. Honestly, I’m not sure why I signed up for that class. I don’t even think I had any electives left. But that class was by far one of the most revealing and rewarding courses I’d taken during my undergraduate career.

It is in that class that I discovered I had a real, tangible, marketable skill. I could write! I could use words to communicate effectively. That is awesome!

Immediately following college, I didn’t write very often. I guess I didn’t feel I had much to write about yet.

In 2015, I had the privilege of relocating to the Caribbean island of Barbados. I decided to join the blogosphere once more in order to keep friends and family abreast of my goings-on. After just a few posts on my observations and adjustments, I was contacted by Amanda Bates, founder of The Black Expat. She told me she liked my writing style and asked if I wouldn’t mind writing a couple of pieces for her new publication (as it had not yet been launched).

Confused and excited, I typed up my thoughts, sent them over, and became a contributing writer. After receiving praise and accolades for those pieces and the ones on my own blog, I decided that maybe I could transform this writing thing from a hobby into a career.

So, with that, I started writing feverishly. I wrote about everything: weight loss, dating, activism. Then I began submitting them to any publication that seemed relevant. I didn’t see immediate success or acceptance. There are a few I’ve still not heard back from. But there are also several who liked my work and were eager to publish it.

I’m certainly no literary scholar, but I can officially call myself a writer. I’m imperfect, but I sharpen and hone my craft every day and hope to make a difference with my words…

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