When I was younger I use to always write little short stories or poems and my mother, being the proud mother she is would always put them on our refrigerator. Writing was something that always came natural to me, I guess you could say it is my first true love, as cliche as it sounds. Writing down my thoughts were always easier than verbally speaking on things I was not strong enough to say, and even sometimes now I write things down when my voice is sometimes weaker. But, as I have grown and matured my writing has too, along with my voice, and I am no longer afraid to voice my opinion. I write poems mainly based on experiences I have, or sometimes I step outside the box and write about things that others can relate too. Being a writer, I have grown to understand that criticism is good, and sometimes I forget that. My biggest fears are someone reading something I have written and not liking it, giving me negative feed-back, or not being able to relate too it. And as far as my first point of someone not liking it I know that, that too is okay, because it is just one persons opinion. As long as someone, just one person, can relate to anything I write I feel like I have conquered the world! It makes me feel good knowing that something I have written has helped, or changed someones day/life/mood.
Going back to my point of knowing that all criticism is good really hit me hard my senior year of undergrad in my Capstone class. For any alumnus of NJCU you would know that “Professor James” was probably the toughest professor but he was only tough because he wanted the best work from you. He was always reasonable and told you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted, but man… I wanted to really hurt him this particular day. For this Capstone class we each had to pick a particular topic and write about it(the type of papers we were writing were called Long form), along with two sidebars( two pieces that added to your bigger story but were two separate topics that connected still to the bigger picture). After showing Professor James my paper although not entirely finished I was super proud of my accomplishments, and was ready for his praises but he proceeded to give me feedback, AND IT WAS NOT what I wanted to hear. Mhm! When I tell you I was so angry at him and he knew it too. I know what he told me would only help my paper in the long run but I was so crushed by what he said I couldn’t even edit my paper for at least twenty minutes. Everything I wrote after I hated, and I was really struggling because every week we were supposed to have a different, more completed draft. All semester the only thing we did was work on our Long Form/Side Bar Stories. I wanted to scream I was so angry. All of my classmates were laughing at me because they never saw me upset before, and because he tore me a new one I wanted to rip everyone’s head off in the process. Afterwards of course, I calmed down and my professor did give me more feedback, this I appreciated too, but it made me feel proud all over again to be an English major and subsequently follow my dreams.
He told me, “Jordan, I know I was rough on you tonight, but in all honesty your writing has improved over the years being my student. It really has.” I will never forget what he told me because that helped me grow as well.
It is my dream to write children’s books, and with all the poems I have written and the few short stories I have done I feel like I am getting closer to my dream. Writing is something that calms me, and although sometimes I do not write as much as I need too, when I do write I fall in love with it all over again. I write sometimes until my fingers start to hurt, and I know when that happens I have nothing else to say. All my thoughts are on paper, or in this case, a screen.
I say all of this to say, do what you love! If it makes you happy do it!