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When I was 10, I sat down at my kitchen table with a glittery green gel pen and a garishly patterned notebook and wrote my first book. It was about a girl who won a songwriting competition (I wrote a song to be included in the book - Taylor Swift who?) and got to go on an all expenses paid trip around Europe. Somehow her (awful) parents end up dying in an avalanche and she ends up living her best life in the Swiss alps with her adopted family. I seem to have commitment issues when it comes to writing, and never ended up finishing it, but writing books was an activity that took up the majority of my younger self’s spare time. Between the ages of 10 and 16, I finished three books (although I started ten, showing my commitment issues again), and thoroughly enjoyed the process of each one: Coming up with ideas, asking around for character names and plot ideas, imagining my book being sold in Waterstones. Having looked back at these books recently, I am thankful that my parents never sent them off to publishers, given that the plots were subpar at best. Yet I always loved the writing process - the way I could easily lose myself in that world for a few hours, as well as the sheer excitement of coming up with a new idea. I even went on a creative writing retreat organised by my school and loved having the opportunity to consult with published authors.

 

Even before I discovered my love of creative writing, I loved reading, and never understood why people disliked it. I remember the happiness I felt when I first discovered the massive library at my new secondary school, filled with books by my favourite authors. I tend to be rather impatient, and would often read the last few pages of a book early if I was sick of wondering what would happen next (I have to admit that I still do this). I remember reading one of the Harry Potter novels in a day and my dad quizzing me on the book as he was convinced I had just been skim reading. I easily tore through a book or two each week.

 

I always assumed my creativity would naturally continue into adulthood, but now I struggle to find the time. I remember feeling too overwhelmed with work to have time to read or come up with plot ideas. Although lockdown gave me the space to read more, juggling everything during university makes things more difficult. When I have a new plot idea, I tend to push everything else to the side so I can write, but lately I’ve been struggling to even come up with ideas. Although this feeling of permanent writer’s block is frustrating, I’m sure my friends are thankful that I’m not always asking them what they think of my latest idea.

 

I definitely miss the constant free time I had when I was younger (and yet at the time I thought I was so busy?!), however I’m looking forward to the summer when I’ll have time to be creative. I’m also hoping that I’ve matured enough since I first started writing, such that my plots will be a bit more believable!

 

Helena is a first year at King's College London, studying global health. Though her family lives in New Jersey, she grew up in South West London. In her free time, she loves creative writing, making too much pitta bread and watching true crime documentaries. She loves sunny weather and is always looking for an excuse to head to the beach.
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