Last week I found out about a paid internship at a publishing company close to where I live. I had to write a writing sample for the submission. It turned out to be such a special piece of writing to me that I wanted to share it with all of you. Let me know what you think and cross your fingers that I get the internship!
I am a creative warrior that faces the day with nothing but a pen as my weapon and a blank piece of paper as my shield. Writing means more to me than eating, sleeping, and breathing. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, I do my best to express myself through words and my imagination. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use my creativity. Without writing, the world would be lacking the beauty of imagination, and the magic that words can bring to a blank page. Without writing there wouldn’t be books to fill our minds with new thought. Writing is the key to self-expression.
Wallace Steven once wrote, “The imagination is man’s power over nature.” As an aspiring writer I get to use my imagination all the time. I believe that it is the most powerful tool that a writer possesses. Writing is a way of setting your imagination on fire. I love to test the limits of how far my imagination can go, and where it can take me. I focus my writing in the young adult fantasy genre. I have always been fascinated with young adult literature, and the range it has. Writing fantasy requires an open mind, and an extra special type of imagination. While some writers might daydream about flowers, and the sweet smell of the salty ocean; I daydream about wizards and dragons.
One of my favorite quotes about writing is a quote by Mark Twain on words. He says, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” I think that quote beautifully encompasses the importance of what words a writer chooses to use in their work. Words are everything to me. They make every day go by, and move life along. Whenever I see them I evaluate them, and when someone speaks them I do the same. This aspect of the writing craft is most important to me out of all other aspects.
When I write something I want it to come alive in the reader’s head. I want it to sound realistic. In order for that to happen I have to choose the right words. I’m not suggesting that people should destroy themselves picking and choosing every single word that they put into a story. However, it isn’t the worst thing to become conscientious of the words you are choosing to use.
Reading is something important that ties into being a good writer. I don’t think that you can write something good, unless you’ve read a lot. William Faulkner writes, “Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.” Books are tools writers need. I myself have two rather large bookshelves that are filled with books from tons of different genres. It ranges from Shakespeare to J.K Rowling.
When I think about the literature that has influenced my life, three works come to mind. “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Shakespeare. Each one is a special part of what makes up my creative formula as a writer. Some works include qualities I aspire to be, or qualities that I already possess.
“Walden” by Thoreau is one of those books that I like to carry around with me all the time. His words are so intelligent and concrete that I can go from unmotivated to extremely inspired just by reading one line. Writers need to surround themselves with powerful confident words, and “Walden” is a great place to find them. He writes, "I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" (Thoreau 341.) Those lines mean so much to me as a writer and a reader. Thoreau gives me the push I need to continue on my path as a writer, and never give up.
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll is a childhood classic. While most people know the story of Alice from movies, I find that the book brings the world of “Wonderland” to life in a much better way. If a writer chooses to write for the fantasy genre, it takes a lot of preparation and dedication to do so. Lewis Carroll does an excellent job of creating a believable world for his readers. He transports us to a magical place through a simple rabbit hole. He writes, “I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny will it seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards!” (Carroll 21.) This is such an important story to me because of the genre I write. Carroll lays the pavement down for writers that are trying to create a believable fantasy world for their readers. The setting is very alluring and takes the reader into a world that perhaps they wish was reality.
Shakespeare’s play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is by far my favorite work from Shakespeare. I’ve read all of his plays, but none of them stands out as much as this one. The reason being that the play possesses a strong theme of the power of the human imagination. He writes, “The lunatic, the lover and the poet/are of imagination all compact” (L. 7-8.) These lines state how strongly Shakespeare feels about his theme of the power of the human imagination. Shakespeare’s diction is so straight forward that he is basically sorting the population into three categories. You either have qualities of a lunatic, a lover, or a poet. Although these three beings, “the lunatic, the lover and the poet” are different in many ways, they all come back to the same ground and are one. Each one of them has their own burdens to bear and demons to fight. However, these beings all have an imagination to either help them deal with their life or destroy them.
In conclusion, writing matters as much as anything else in the world. Without writing we wouldn’t experience the beauty of the imagination, and the magic that words can bring to a blank page. Without writing there wouldn’t be books to fill our minds with new thought. Writing is the best friend that will never leave me. Writing is truth. Writing is love. I will always choose a pen as my weapon and a blank piece of paper as my shield. I am a creative warrior that will never give up, no matter what the circumstances are.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. 1st ed. New York: Signet, 1960.
Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night's Dream. 2nd ed. New York: Signet, 1998.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. New York: CRW Publishing Limited, 2004.