My Autobiography as A Writer
By: Ethan Rosen
There is no one, clear-cut way to define writing. For some, it is a chore; for others, it is a mode of expression and creativity; and for others, like myself, it is all of the above. But, most importantly, writing has proven to be a method of self-expression, self-care, and maturation. Though I sometimes call it “busy work” and dread getting caught on the inevitable ‘writers’ block,’ I proudly do not shy away from incorporating writing into my life. Writing has been with me through my simplest times; my most emotional of times; and now, writing sticks with me through my most extroverted and expressive times.
I remember first grade; not a care in the world, except with whom I would be hanging out after school. Academic stress and expectations had clearly not yet been imposed, thus, I did not feel obliged to put a lot of effort into my work. During our unit on Johnny Appleseed, I wrote a brief paragraph about apples. For some reason, despite being seven years old, I thought it would be acceptable to take a somewhat-odd shortcut. Everytime I wrote a word like apple, per sé, I drew an arrowed-line to every other spot in which it would have been written. Yes, I know it was odd. No, I did not know that I could not do it. I was seven, ok? Anyways, that is my first vivid recollection of my laziness as a writer. This laziness came in bursts; in fact, I still feel it at points. Whenever I am caught in a writer’s block, I sometimes just drop the work completely. I realized I had a lack of both a motivation and inspiration to write. I just needed someone to empower me to take that next step.
I always admired my dad’s writing; humbly, he often boasts about his writing on LinkedIn, a networking platform commonly used by students and professionals. I always read my dad’s works. Not because he is my dad – maybe because he is my dad – but because I am mesmerized, dare I say, by the simplicity and outlet he has to express his voice. He publishes weekly articles about the adult beverage industry – in which he works. I would always see him crank these out – somewhat subconsciously – while on the couch, the plane, or even in bed. His understanding of the content covered made this a somewhat mindless task. He inspires me through his works and through his philosophy which he has passed on to me: “Talk to everybody. Share your ideas. You never know who your audience will be.” The next step was evident. I had to write my first LinkedIn article. I remember sitting down at my desk – clueless. I am a student; not a professional.What would About what could I write? After an hour or so in utter confusion, I just resorted to a topic with which I was slightly familiar: the conflict between small and large businesses, and how small businesses can win the battle. I have never worked for a large business, thus, my context was based on my understanding of the situation from the outside. However, I feel like my somewhat-inexperienced approach allowed me to learn more about the topic. I wrote, “Your business' size is unimportant; it is your determination and perseverance to compete against the larger business for the customers and their loyalty.” But I did not what that truly meant, it was simply what I had hearn and come to believe as the normal advice. After delving into the three components of this competition – Brand Loyalty vs. Interpersonal Skills, Prioritizing Price or Quality, Being A Community Member vs. Using The Community As a Market – I feel as if I understood this situation much better. And after a few hours and series of edits, my article was published. I later posted the article on my LinkedIn and Facebook. I enjoyed the feeling it brought: sharing my ideas with my network and then those ideas soon provoking numerous dialogues. This somewhat-euphoric feeling of self expression did not settle down. Since then, I have written several articles on topics ranging from open-mindedness, to my nonprofit organization, Easy Hoops. Using LinkedIn as a method to share my ideas has given me an outlet to express myself and mature as both a writer and as a person. I was fortunate to be able to carry this experience with me as I continued to do business writing in the future. And, no; I did not just draw arrows to every place which I wrote business.
Writing about business-related themes provided a somewhat unexpected way of maturing, too. My junior year, I wrote my first business plan. Though faux and simply for purposes of DECA competition, I spent a week writing a five-page document about a company I had ‘created’. Being that this was my first time writing a proper business document, I was fortunate to learn about its components through trial and error. This writing fascinated me, I was learning to combine my life story with business values and ideas: “For many years, my father has worked out of town for business. For an equal amount of time, as I have tried to visit and travel to him on my own, I have heard the much maligned conversation about unaccompanied minor (UM) travel fees and questioned if there was a better way. I believe that FlightFriend is the better way.” I replicated the style of writing business documents as I wrote my first real business plan for Easy Hoops. It was an interesting and rewarding experience; I sat down over a weekend and wrote fifteen pages detailing unique value proposition, executive summary, key target markets, and future plans. Despite being different than the typical writing which I have done in and out of school. Drafting these two business plans was a form of self-maturation.
However, I believe one does not completely mature through experiences like these. Rather, I believe trials and tribulations provoke one to either struggle or mature – the one or the other based on their response to the situation. Amidst a divorce at age eleven, I was faced with immediate calamity. When your parents are incredibly stressed and your sister is eight, the presence of an outlet was not easy to find. Thus, I took up writing. I remember writing in my journal every few days. No rhyme or reason. Just to share my ideas. Little did I know, I was my own therapist. Over the course of the few months, I had realized how much I had matured – solely based on multiple few-sentence journal entries. Now, nearly seven years later, I still find that writing about my parents’ divorce is a method of both self-care and self-expression. Amidst the college application process, I knew I would be passionate writing about the divorce. At seventeen, my college essay about divorce allowed me to develop a whole new perspective about that time of life. It allowed me to look at it with a sense of optimism and happiness – rather than the sadness with which it is typically associated. I wrote, “In the years following my parents’ divorce, I matured and slowly developed the confidence that my blue phase had stripped from me. As Picasso displayed his newfound optimism through his art, I found mine through sharing my basketball skills and lessons with others. My sophomore year, I started Easy Hoops, a not-for-profit business, to empower individuals with special needs to develop life and social skills. I learned that I could make more of an impact teaching than competing.
By highlighting orange and pink colors in his art, Picasso displayed his rejuvenation. I felt happier during the years following the divorce – I found an unexpected passion. For me, my future will not solely be painted in orange or pink tones; rather, it will be defined by a multitude of colors. I am still evolving.” I was always so familiar with divorce receiving such a negative connotation and being painted in the ‘my-life-is-ruined’ light. Through time and developing the ability to express myself, I found my true takeaway from a life-changing divorce. Yes, it had its fair share of struggle. But that struggle taught me stuff I would have never learned in another setting. So, nNow, after gaining this sense of optimism regarding the divorce, I want to share it through no other medium than writing – the one that held my hand through this adversity. This year, I hope to share the importance of embracing divorce through writing a children’s book in both the English and Spanish languages: “Divorce, My Best Friend” and in Spanish, “Divorcio, Mi Mejor Amigo”. I hope this juxtaposition empowers readers – regardless of age – to find the light in their dark tunnel. This can only be accomplished through writing, and is something I would never have been able to do without my first writing experiences and growth.
Yes, writing has been busy work, and always will be busy work. But, it is not dreadful busy work. It is desirable busy work. It is empowering busy work. It is optimistic busy work. It is the type of art to which I can refer in my most adversed times; in my most expressive times; and my times of pure boredom. I will always be here to write – for whatever purpose; but, more importantly, I know writing will always be there for me, whenever I need it. That is why I write. That is who I am as a writer.