I had to complete an assignment describing my writing life, which I thought I would share so that you could all find out a bit about me…
Steph’s definition of why she writes: I write because if I didn’t there would be far too many stories stuck in my head and hardly any room for anything else.
When I think of my writing life I think of the very beginning and it went something like this: “A blue fairy hunched in a sunlit cave with wings like sticky spun cobwebs.” My year one class in primary school had a mini storybook task where we wrote a story, designed a cover, which we then coloured in textas that bled through it, and poorly stapled it all together. A folder was placed in the corner of the room and with this, you were able to “check out” someone’s story from the student library.
When I wrote my fairy story I didn’t think of who was going to read it or how the words would sound, I didn’t even care what would happen. All I did was let my mind grow “dark”- essentially clear my mind- and let the place, character, and emotions guide the story. It was like a grand theatre production in my head or like the mist of my thoughts that created something believably tangible in my mind. And so, my first memory of “proper” storytelling was writing that Blue Fairy Story.
I had never before let my imagination run as wild as that, to the point where I could smell the damp earth like I was there. It was magical. My method hasn’t changed so much since, I don’t write for a reader first, I write for myself. Only recently when I write an article rather than a creative piece, do I write with a reader in mind.
My journalism teachers say write an article like you would tell the story to a neighbour over the fence; starting with why you’re telling the story and then lead on with the most important points – lest you are interrupted. That is why I think there is no one head space for writing and like novelist Toni Jordan once told me, we have to put on hats, like an editing hat or creative hat, a change of headspace, in my opinion, is very important.
I knew I wanted to be a writer because I couldn’t stop writing my novel. I was obsessed. This idea came, like most, not in a glamorous fashion where I was overtaken by a vision, but rather in year 12 on a dirty bus. In my second year of university at RMIT, studying fashion, I wanted to take my idea more seriously. I hunted down a novel course and found myself at Allen and Unwin, studying a Faber Academy program called, “Writing a Novel”. Between biscuits and writing techniques, tips and tricks, I made myself feel at home amongst a field I knew nothing about. This gave me the confidence to apply for Journalism at La Trobe and finish my novel.
My writing life is not organised, it’s chaotic. I get ideas for phrases, characters or plot twists generally at very inconvenient times – whether it be at work, two in the morning when I was just about to fall asleep, at a bar, in the middle of a date – it doesn’t matter.
For me, being busy spurs on ideas but then so does being still in a quiet space. These days I’m constantly writing, I’m either writing articles for university or editing my novel, when I’m not doing that I’m sending emails, blogging short stories, or even texting my friends – so I’m just always writing. It is this limitless thing that requires no money to do, just time and I spend a lot of time on it.
If I’m not writing I’m watching movies, or reading books or news articles. I believe doing this only help to broaden my writing. It doesn’t feel like work to me. I have this constant feeling of being a fraud because everyone I know hates their job or loathes university, but I have somehow found this golden ticket into a field I really enjoy. The only hardship I face when writing is that I might lose track of how many coffees I’m drinking and be buzzed, or my cat might sit on my manuscript.
There aren’t too many jobs around in journalism so I’ve been trying to prepare myself for that question every university graduate dreads, ‘So tell us, what sets you apart?’ And I’ll be able to say, ‘I’m glad you asked Susan, I completed part of my degree in Florence Italy, where I wrote articles on a personal blog about Pitti Immagine, during their fashion week. Here is an amazing website I prepared earlier! And I have a novel being released in September and oh look at that all my university teachers have decided to give me glowing recommendations. Oh stop it you want to up my salary too, this almost feels, yes, like a fabricated of fiction for a personal creative piece, as a university assignment, almost…’
I was recently accepted into IED (European Institute of Design) to undergo this amazing writing program. My long-term goal is to have my novel published and be working for the government as a court reporter, at a fashion magazine, or as a human-interest writer for a newspaper – I’m keeping my options very open.
It feels natural to be going down this windy path where I can’t quite predict every turn, but I am getting very comfortable about always being in situations where I am uncomfortable. Being at university, I have a lot of doors open and I hope that when I graduate some new ones do too.
My favourite novel is “Sea Hearts” by Margo Lanagan. When I read it I was so awestruck that I just put it down at the end, and was like nope, why am I writing when this exists? I am a strong believer that there is a story in everyone and comparing other works to my own isn’t something I do. I am a very competitive person but it’s always been with myself and my own personal writing goals. I don’t believe in giving up or slacking off – and I can’t stop, not even if I wanted to, my ideas and my supportive friends wouldn’t let me anyway.
~ Written by Stephanie Kentepozidis