Sometime during our fiction unit last year, I was talking to Emma E. about how I was unhappy with the stories I’d written so far. She responded that she too hadn’t really produced much from the given prompts, but that the stories she’d written on her free time were alright.
Ok, I don’t remember the exact nature of our conversation, but it was something close to that. What I do remember is being shocked that Emma E. had written stories outside of Creative Writing. And my surprise didn’t surface because I think Emma is lazy (she’s actually one of the most dedicated writers I know), but because I had never thought of writing for myself.
This is bizarre because before I arrived at SOTA, this was all I’d ever do. When ninth grade came around, “writing” became synonymous with “homework”. This isn’t to say that I dislike writing. Of course I do! I just mean that if I was writing something, I would eventually be handing it to Heather for a grade.
This summer I was a part of the California State School of the Arts’ Creative Writing program. It was a life changing experience for many reasons, but one of them was that I immediately felt like I gained liberation in my writing. For the first time in a long time, writing wasn’t connected to school. Nothing was graded, I was there on my own accord, and what I wrote and when I wrote was solely up to me. I quickly got in the habit of writing every day, and thankfully, I’ve kept that habit since returning to the Bay Area, and to school. Of course, I’m still completing and putting my all into my CW assignments, but in addition, I’m writing other stuff for pleasure, and I’ve never felt more motivated in my writing in all my life.
I made the decision this summer that I want to be a writer when I grow up. While I love being in our department every day, I realize that life after high school is looming in front of me. Being a writer usually means being your own boss, and I just hope that my motivation continues to grow and thrive, along with my writing itself.
Amina Aineb, Class of 2017
The photo is of graffiti at the bus stop near my house.