Anyone who writes knows the feeling of reflecting on stories you’ve written in the past. For me, reading through old articles I once thought were actually the Great American Novel (and discovering how much I’ve grown since then) is the equivalent of finding a tagged Facebook picture of myself from 2009, except a little less cringeworthy (but only marginally).
My writing process has changed. I used to overthink everything I wrote. Even though I put my heart and soul into the words, I labored over each pitch, hesitating more than when I took my driving test at age 16 and made arguably the most leisurely left turns ever.
As I’ve had the opportunity to develop my weekly stories, though, I let go of fear. Once I stopped worrying about being the “perfect” columnist (which really isn’t even a thing, anyway) and told the stories I believed were telling of the here and now — like why we should care about our grammar on social media — I found my voice somewhere at the corner of pages 6 and 7.
So, what does this mean for you as readers? Well, for one thing, when embarking on something new (in writing or beyond), even though it’s easy to spend more time wrapped up in everything that could potentially go wrong, don’t lose sight of the good parts — and the reason why you started in the first place.
For me, that starting point was more than a decade ago, when I spent my free time dreaming up a made-up publication, which I called Fabulous Magazine. I did all the writing, art and production (Scotch-taping my finished papers together).
The point is, for as long as I can remember, I’ve valued writing and having (or creating) a platform to share stories of all sorts. And even though my skills and tools have evolved since the days of printer paper and Crayola markers, at the heart of it, that’s still what I’m doing now.
Even in this era where the industry I still very much believe in is constantly under fire — via verbal attacks by government officials or constant claims of “fake news” — the same love for writing and storytelling that guided my ideas for my childhood made-up magazine is the same passion that’s guided me through my time at UF and I know will carry me into a career I love.
With that, I can’t help but be thankful for this 600-word space that’s become a home for my thoughts on everything from comment culture, rom-coms and bad Instagrammers, to navigating the predicaments and conflicts inherent with college life. Within these margins, I’ve come into my own as a writer.
I hope each of you has the opportunity to find and embrace your voice, whatever that means to you. After all, in this era, we have our voice, our dreams and each other — and we really can’t afford to lose any of those.
Darcy Schild is a UF journalism senior. Her column appeared on Wednesdays.