The Journey From a Curious Reader to a Living, Breathing Writer

A woman’s hands on a typewriter. Some books are placed next to the typewriter.

As a kid, I was always an avid reader, quickly getting through various fantasy books. At the time, wizards and dragons were all I wanted to read about. While some kids who feel like outcasts get lost in video games, books were my choice of escape. In contrast, my peers struggled to read one book a month or to write five sentences about their lives.

About eight-years old, I recall sitting in the wooden rocking chair my mother had bought and reading Harry Potter, thinking about how much effort goes into writing a book. Would I ever be able to do it? At that time, one’s published book in every bookshop seemed like the biggest achievement I could think of. Whilst I didn’t consider writing back then, I was in awe of every published author whose work I encountered — J. K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini, Roald Dahl and many more.

Taking the leap — from a reader to a writer

Fast-forward to the age of twelve, when I stumbled across an article in a teenage magazine about blogging. I saw it as an accessible and exciting way to get published without the help of publishing houses. Blogging was new and trendy. And the best part of it? I could start now, at this very moment! Who knew — maybe I could be the next big thing in the blogging world?

Around the same time, I also discovered the magical world of Wattpad. Turns out, there were many other teenagers who were just as keen on writing as I was, and they bravely shared their work to the world, getting praise and feedback. Nothing seemed off limits — romance, fan fiction, drama… The sky was the limit. However, young teenage me had never heard of the popular advice — write what you know. So, I wrote about everything I thought I was supposed to write about. Relationships, sex, being the bad girl in my own fiction stories… That’s what everyone seemed to write about. Well, that and lots of Harry Styles fan fiction, which was a trend I never attempted to follow. Looking back at my Wattpad days, I frown just a little. A girl, who was yet to have her first kiss, was already attempting to write sex scenes in her romance ‘novels’. It just didn’t make much sense.

Man’s hands, writing a letter on the desk. There’s a book and a cup next to it.

The blog never really took off the way I hoped. Of course, at the age of fourteen, I didn’t think about SEO, power words or the exact audience I was writing for. Publishing articles was like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something will stick. Of course, without having my own writing voice and knowing who I really was, nothing did. My posts were directed mainly towards teenage girls and, instead of writing about what I cared about, I churned out pieces about relationships, film and music reviews and rants about teenage issues. I tried to be everything for everyone, which eventually lead to a writing burnout.

At a certain point, I deleted my blog. My bullies from school had found it, and it was just another reason for them to mock me. The inspiration for writing more Wattpad stories had run out, and I stopped writing. While an occasional essay at school still sparked some excitement, I no longer wrote for myself. Hell, I didn’t even know if I’d ever get back to it! My life script had already been written for me, and being an aspiring writer with my head in the clouds was not a part of that script.

When the love for writing doesn’t go away

Yet, at the age of 18, my path somehow lead back to writing. In this transitional, chaotic period of my life, nothing quite made sense. I had to take my life apart and rearrange the pieces. It took one essay about Baudelaire’s poetry collection to get recognized by my literature teacher that I once found intimidating. And that was enough to bring back not only a spark but an entire flame. I didn’t grow up as a quiet kid because I had nothing to say. In fact, I had so much to say, but the people around me were not the right audience. They thought I was weird and cared about all the wrong things. (In all honesty, I thought the same about them.) Perhaps, the ache of not fitting in and not being heard is what led me to writing. Writing seemed to be the only way I could make sense of life.

As I applied to get my Bachelor’s degree in Creative & Professional Writing, I didn’t have a career in mind. All I knew was that I was following my heart. Three years later, my heart still keeps leading the way. I have written several articles about online sex work for YNotCam, but this is just the start. Finding Medium and giving it a shot was a lucky coincidence, and I can’t wait to see how it expands my writing horizons. Here’s to 2022 and all the writing opportunities that are yet to come!

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Alison Sparks

Alison Sparks

A writer and amateur adult content creator. 💕 My writing typically covers online sex work, sexuality and relationships.📚