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13 January 2018

Writer's Statements & Why YOU Need One Right Now

Happy January, everyone! You know it and love it: I'm revamping All the Writerly Things, which is a series dedicated to examining literature, movies, and all aspects which contribute to honing in one's creative writing craft. I’m currently sitting down, sipping some apple cider, reading, and writing down some notes for some pieces before submitting them to various publications across the country.

Every year, I tell myself this is the year I will dedicate myself completely to writing, where my long-term writing projects shall become an actual living breathing organism outside of the mind space. Only, this doesn’t happen at the extent I’d like it to. There’s so much going on with life that by the end of the year, the potential is bogged down by so much and the self-loathing in my mind begins to build. No apparent way of change presented itself—that is, until I began to create a writer’s statement. Here’s how and why this one snippet of writing is so important.


A writer’s statement is somewhat self-explanatory in hindsight but requires more digging to see the intrinsic value lying underneath. This statement, created by the writer helps concentrate back towards the core of the journey. What do you write? Why do you enjoy writing? How do you hope your writing will change the world? These questions are answered in the statement, touching all three realms of time: past, present, and future. It’s the guiding core of your writing helping you stand up again after succumbing to an existential crisis and feel like you aren’t good enough.

Here are several tips to help you on your crafting process:

1) Think about your origin story! Many heroes and notable world-changers always start off with humble beginnings—not everyone has attended an arts’ school or camp to hone their writing voice. As I’ve mentioned several times, I have friends who are incredibly advanced in the writing world to the point of receiving national awards and giving TED Talks under the age of seventeen, but they didn’t start there. In fact, many of them started through writing NaNoWriMo novels, perusing through the Young Writers’ forums, and battling out which Hogwarts House is the best.

Sometimes, writing starts from reading stories while waiting for the washing machine to finish its rinse cycle or a doodle made from going to a fast-food restaurant in the middle of the night on a napkin with bits of ketchup smudged on the edge. It may not seem significant to others, but this is your life with your perspective and narrative. Draw from it! I won’t say much about my personal origin story, but my blog’s URL practically says it all.

2) Be sincere. This statement is mostly for you to draw on. Don’t hesitate to be vulnerable or candid. The statement doesn’t have to be published publicly for the world to see. It can simply sit on your wall, right in front of your desk where you plot your novels. You know yourself and your writing goals better than anyone else.

3) Plan out the game plan and the goals. Do you aspire to become published traditionally under one of the five big houses, or are you wanting to explore more of the literary press route and present chapbooks? Do you aspire to become a National Poet Laureate, a Pushcart nominee, or earn an MFA in Creative Writing? Make sure to keep note of this—and have a general outline of how you want to get there. Motivate yourself by for every ten twenty-five words, you treat yourself to a box of doughnuts to munch on at home.

The statement doesn’t have to have hard dates, but soft dates can help keep you right on track! Write something, such as devoting yourself to writing a poem every week. Even something such as finishing a second draft of a novel of a series you initiated early on can help push you forwards towards your dreams becoming a reality.

4) Name out the common themes you hope your readers will take from your writing. I remember stumbling onto the right words of what I hoped my writing would transpire to from a comment I left on dear Audrey Caylin’s blog, which says, “… For me, writing…. made me realize gray areas, how life isn't merely black and white and how amidst of all the unruly horror that tries to inject itself into the world, there is good that arises, and the watching the clash between those two things is a tragedy and beauty. And the fact we have the power to shape that world view and bring it to a greater audience… it just stuns me so much.”

For some time, I forgot about this quote until I rewrote my about page last August and thought these words hit stone cold. It’s a common theme and compliment resurging from writing critiques, how I never shy away from the hard truth and how there is beauty and tragedy. This is something I want to highlight on, while also writing from various perspectives, particularly those contrasting to mine. Maybe you write hoping to just inoculate readers with a wonderful sense of bliss and calm or hope to transpire them to another realm where dragons exist because dragons. Don't hesitate to write those down!

Have you ever written a writer's statement before? Write out what you think will be in your writer's statement below!

06 January 2018

2018 // Let's Make Opportunities This Year

Happy 2018, friends! Like the Greek god Janus, whose two heads see the past and present (thus birthing the name of January), I look out to a crossroad. This is the year I graduate high school, turn eighteen, and leave most of what I know behind the receive a taste of adulthood, however bittersweet it may be. By bittersweet, the reference is to coffee’s taste, which for some reason I’ve always fantasized to turn from the scourge of life to the revered grail when I automatically turned eighteen.

Perhaps sweetener would suffice the taste?

I’ve grown to now know every year is just a stepping stone. Every opportunity whirls our current selves into a dance towards or away the person we want to become, and each time I enter another adventure, I learn more about myself. For instance, I’ve learned ballet stretches do help strengthen one’s ankle, spray glue does not allow large sheets of paper to stick to a surface especially when applied on a balmy yet windy day, and a person can rise back if they tried impeccably hard, as I’ve learned through my journey of understanding integrals, derivatives, and integration by parts. I look at past opportunities, especially the ones I could not undergo for various, yet mostly family centric, reasons. It’s comforting to know the future constantly wavering depending on the choices we make and to know numerous opportunities will present themselves.

This is how many individuals think, too. “New year, new me!” Substitute year with another period and scenario—school, job—and what is left is an idealistic promise towards a complete rebranding from the bricks. This is highly unrealistic for a plethora of reasons. First, rebranding a person from scratch takes a numerous amount of effort and to wipe away an entire history of built growth. Growth for the number of years a person has been alive takes time to rebuild. It is a continual construction of a building. Secondly, thinking change can happen overnight is extremely rare (unless you are a diligent planner with organizational skills clipped to perfection, in which case, I applaud you). My younger, middle school self from 2013 would fall to these pitfalls, but out of all the questions, the most blaring one has not been asked:

Why must we wait for a New Year for us to accomplish the things we want to accomplish?

I understand the novelty of new is appealing and comforting. It is comforting to turn from the previous year and to another year, because it is a whiff of fresh air with the comforting warmth of simply being mistake-free. A part of me would like to revel in another week of break prior to starting the second semester as most of my mistakes revolve around awkward musings I make in front of classes and tripping up the stairs to get to my locker in the mornings. I also think one of the enticing features of the word “new” is it is the beginning of a brand new chapter, and while it is in a sense, not everything starts off in the new year.

If so, most start-ups and ideas would consistently occur on January 1st, and no matter how incredible it would be to swim in fields of opportunity, it would be overwhelming.

In my previous post, I mentioned how 2017 was defined by calculus, and because of this one subject I’ve grown in a huge amount of ways (hopefully for the better). I won’t go in depth about the details due to it being a private and ongoing journey, but a change called itself to my attention in the middle of July. After sending several emails and prepping myself for the new school year, I told myself I would be ready to tackle on the brute force known as Calculus BC. The change which needed to happen would happen. I’d make it work, somehow.

Yet for some time, it didn’t. I grew incredibly frustrated and became mentally drained, as seen in some of my fall posts, and after late nights of working a schedule and understanding the way my mind processes math the best, it finally took place. This change didn’t even successful come to life until early December, and I started in July.

You do not need to always start up in the beginning of the New Year. Dates justified by the circulation around the sun do not need to signify the sign of a new beginning. A project can start on the first or even the sixteenth of August. Know if your initial goal falls flat and you started in the beginning of the year, it’s always a possibility to pick it up from the floor. You can dictate when you start something. You can frequently reopen an opportunity once found close.

It’s the new year, friends! So keep your eyes open, take opportunities when they present themselves, and best of all, if you see no opportunities, the possibility of making your own is out there.

What is one project you want to accomplish going into the new year? What's another project you started during the middle of another month you're proud to be doing consistently? Have you ever fallen into the trap of, "New Year, New Me?" Let me know in the comments below!