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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

COLUMN: Writing about writing

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I was lying in bed, planning to take a nap after running errands all day. I could barely keep my eyes open. The curtains were closed. It was raining — perfect napping weather. I'd thought falling asleep would’ve been easy. 

My body was resting, but my mind wasn’t. In fact, I had so much going on in my head that I could not sleep. I decided I had to put my nap on hold and really set my thoughts straight. What my thoughts consisted of? What I was going to write next. My mind was scrambling for ideas on what I could pitch for my next column. I didn’t even have to pitch for another week and yet here I was, trying and trying to come up with something. 

I thought of a couple of ideas that I would most likely pursue in the next couple weeks, but something else struck me harder. Why not write about this experience of not being able to sleep because I wanted to write? Why not talk about how once you discover what you’re passionate about, you can’t stop thinking about it? 

So here I am, having skipped out on my nap to sit hunched up at my computer expressing my love for writing instead, because if I don’t, I will not be able to sleep.  

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From a young age, I absolutely loved to write. I would write about the most random things: fairies, animals, space. I remember specifically in fifth grade I went through a creative writing phase. I would practice my typing by writing a bunch of random stories. I wouldn’t even finish them, but I still wanted to write the ideas that came to mind. I would write mini stories to practice my cursive. I even had one of those books where it would give you one sentence and you had to write the rest of the story on one page. At that point, I thought being an author was in the cards for me. 

[Related: GUEST COLUMN: The Eiffel Tower: A hypnotic journey]

It was not. To this day I deem myself not creative enough to write stories that extraordinary and long.  

Flashforward to eighth grade, where we spent the year writing an autobiography. We interviewed family members about their lives and wrote a little bit about our own experiences as well. Even though this was very base-level storytelling, it still intrigued me. Writing about my experiences and telling the stories of others on a more personal, insightful level fascinated me. Even though I didn’t have the imagination to make up fiction stories, I could use what little creativity I was born with to outline what real life was like, dig into the details that make every voice important.

I was positive that this is what I wanted to do in life.  

Not so fast — I needed to learn how to write first. I was still in the process of finding my voice. 

Throughout high school, English was not my favorite class. I found it to be very tedious. I'd already written persuasive essays and done reading questions for 10 years. When college application season came around, I was forced to reflect on what I wanted to study and why. I knew I wanted to explore journalism more, but I didn’t have a lot of concrete experience to help me explain why.  

What I did come up with though was this: I wanted to be a storyteller. I wanted to give everyone a chance to share what they’ve gone through. I wanted to write compelling and powerful stories. I wanted people to want to read about other people that lived in their world. 

I kept this thought at the back of my head as I started college and began to write news stories. A form of storytelling, of course, but not exactly what I had envisioned. Nevertheless, I fell in love with it. I fell in love with interviewing sources about a variety of different subjects. I fell in love with learning how to put everything together and make it sound sophisticated. The more I wrote news the more I was able to formulate my voice. It encouraged me to want to continue writing news. 

Throughout the year, there have been so many instances that have led me to love writing more, too many to list right now. But the last one I will tell you about, perhaps the most important one, came from a class I took in the spring. After going on a trip to Europe to learn more about the history of Ernie Pyle, a World War II correspondent, we had to write an 800-word column on one of the things we did. I was assigned to write about when we went to the Eiffel tower.  

I jumped at this chance to finally take a break from news and write something more creative and exciting. It was maybe the most fun I've ever had writing a column. I was so eager to outline all the details of the day and the conversations I'd had and give it a more personal flair. It felt more meaningful and engaging.  

[Related: COLUMN: Every book has a purpose]

So here I am, three months later, writing both columns and news articles. The pieces clicked. You know you truly love something when you can feel the rush of it through your body, consuming your thoughts. Even if it may feel like it’s nagging at you, it’s really just letting you know that you’ve landed in the right spot. Congratulations, you took the right path. 

But your journey isn’t over yet. For any profession, just because you’ve finally found what you love doing doesn’t mean it’s time to rest. It's time to reflect on how you got to that point and think about why you love what you love. Even more, it’s time to think about where you can go next with this. Pursue that love and explore what you can do with it in life. 

Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian. 

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