A little girl climbs into bed, her Bug’s Life pajamas on. A stack of Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, and The Babysitters Club books rest on her night stand. She has in one hand a journal and in the other a no.2 pencil. She is writing down the titles of all her books, so that she can check them off as she reads each one. This little girl is me; well, the seven-year-old version of me. From the moment I learned to read, I have had a brilliant love for books. My favorite day of every school year was when the Scholastic Book Fair would come. My mom would give me twenty dollars, and I would spend the entire lunch period calculating how many books I could buy with my cash. I was enchanted by books and the stories they told. The idea of books, that ink on paper could take me to different worlds with characters who felt like real people, was magical.
As I grew older, my love for books grew with me. Eventually, after reading as many books as I possibly could, a thought popped into my mind: I can write a book. It would be easy. I had read so many books. I knew how they worked. I had a hundred ideas of what to write about; I just needed a pencil and a journal. So I ripped out a few sheets that had been scribbled on in one of my old journals, and I sat down at my desk to write the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Unfortunately, the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer, I simultaneously realized that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Nonetheless, my naivety did not stop me from attempting to write my own novel. However, after many failed attempts, I came to the conclusion that I would never be a writer, and that my dream of being an author was simply a fantasy that could never foster into a reality.
As I entered my senior year of high school, the pressures of deciding which career path to take became unbearable. I considered being a teacher, a librarian, a nurse, even an FBI agent, but inside I knew what the truth was. I wanted to be a writer, but I had no faith in myself. Sylvia Plath wrote that, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” I was the embodiment of that idea. Every time the flame of creativity sparked within me, I drowned it in the water of self-doubt. I would see authors my own age publishing their works, and I would feel like a complete failure because I had not written anything brilliant yet.
However, in the midst of self-doubt, I decided to go for my dream despite what my over-critical self had to say. I knew that later in life I would regret not even attempting to be a writer. So, upon entering my sophomore year in college, I declared myself an English major, and I decided I would learn how to write. Ernest Hemingway said, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way,” and that is a quote I recite to myself often. I will never regret my decision to see where declaring myself an English major would take me. It has led me to brilliant professors at Middle Tennessee State University, to literature I would otherwise never have been exposed to, to ideas and theories I would never have thought of, and to one opportunity I am extremely thankful for: the position of intern for the MTSU Write program.
As I end the first month of my internship for MTSU Write, I reflect on the gratitude I feel for having the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible program. I recently was able to be a part of the MTSU Write 2016 Fall Creative Writing Conference, where I had the pleasure of hearing an inspiring and encouraging speech from author Alice Randall. She encouraged those who are pursuing a writing career to “find [their] teeth and bite,” because only they can write down their own story to show the world the way they view life. I left the conference with the realization that the way I view life is worth sharing, because I owe it to the world to give it something it has never seen before. And, so, instead of drowning my fire of creativity in the water of self-doubt, I am drenching that fire in lighter fluid. Because my voice deserves to be heard. And so does yours.
Written by: Emily Coble, MTSU Write Intern