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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

“When did I start writing?” I leaned in with curiosity as I perked up to my mother’s eyes. “You have always been a writer” she said, “it is one of those life-long experiences that you cannot put an origin date to.” Unlike knowledge and abilities, passion is innate. This means passion cannot be learned or taught but is always present. Every milestone I have had in my life has also acted as a stepping stone in my journey of being a writer. People always ask, when do you start considering yourself a writer? To this, I reply, as soon as one starts writing. My journey has been a continuous path ever since I was seven years old. If there is one thing I have learned from this, it’s that passions can come and go, but they will always find their way back to the person to whom they belong. 

I was always an avid, curious, reader. I would down books as quickly as the average adult downs three cups of coffee on a Monday morning. So, a love for language was exposed to me at a very young age. My father would sit me down and teach me to read the mainstream newspaper of Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Día, with him every morning. One early Sunday, I found myself glancing at a column that read, “submit your letters for a chance to be featured in next week’s print!” I rushed to my parents to show them this, and before I knew it, I had submitted my piece of writing. To my memory, I still do not remember what I wrote about or how many grammatical errors my paper had. However, that following Sunday, I woke up later than usual to a smiling father. “Guess who was published in the newspaper?” If there is any beginning to my writing story, I would say that was it. 

Following this was years of more published work. Everything from poems to more newspaper columns. But when I turned sixteen, I wanted to challenge myself even more. I figured if I can read these big, fictional books, then, why can I not make my own? I began getting small ideas from every novel and genre I read. Suddenly, writing took over my life. I would push myself and write at least 2,000 words every day. It was tiresome, and sometimes I lacked motivation, but it made me into the writer I am today. This small act of discipline resulted in the publishing of my first book ever, Dear Teenagers. It’s a work of writing intended for teenagers that struggle with everyday battles. These can be issues as serious as mental illnesses or as subtle as overthinking. This was the first work I truly found my voice in. In my early drafts, I didn’t think about how many run-on sentences there were, or how many misplaced modifiers I had. I just wrote unfiltered; and that, to me, is being a writer. 

Wanting an even greater challenge, I decided to promise myself that I was going to write, edit, and publish a 70,000-word count novel before I graduated high school. This deprived me of a lot of sleep, and gave me a lot of opportunities to binge on caffeine. However, the biggest pride I felt inside after I completed this goal had nothing to do with the book in itself. Sure, it is a cool fact to tell, but the biggest takeaway I got from writing this was solidifying my voice. I had the chance to make up fictional characters that had qualities I wanted to see in myself more, such as patience and selflessness. Similarly, I was able to learn how to structure a plot from start to finish, which helped me be more organized in my day-to-day life. I would even get feedback from my teacher and peers in my high school creative writing class . Needless to say, this whole seven-month journey of writing my first novel molded my perseverance, openness to knowledge, and exposure to being critiqued for the better. 

Despite this long, ongoing experience, there were always small periods when I would stop writing or not write as much. This often was due to the fact that school kept me busy or I relished spending that extra quality time with my friends and family. Writing, such as any passion, can be tedious. There are going to be days where I feel like my writing sucks. There are always moments when I feel like I am being unoriginal, repetitive, and redundant in my voice. Yet, there are also periods where I go back and re-read that one sentence that I thought was well-written. Passions are intermittent; they can be paused, leave, and cease temporarily, but they never go away. I always find myself going back to writing. It’s a journey that never gets easier, but I write for many reasons. I keep writing because it’s a puzzle that no one else will ever fix the same way as I will. I keep writing because my characters have something to say and I am willing to listen. I keep writing because I love it even when I think I hate it, even when it costs me my sleep, and even when I think I am doing it all wrong— the desire to write is unending, unbreakable, and undeniable. After all, I owe my seven-year-old self the honor after she dared to submit her first piece of writing to that newspaper.