Literary Chemistry

Stephanie AustinBy Stephanie Austin

I realized in high school that I didn’t much like journalism beyond writing editorials and frantically scrambled for some other career to plan my life around before I finished high school. I chose editor. I enjoy reading critically and can never help myself but mark typos when I see them. I manage to resist the urge when it comes to billboards while I’m driving. (I keep my eyes on the road, of course).

I’ve over-simplified the reasoning behind my life plans and glazed over the feeling that I had to plan my life out so soon. I couldn’t even drive, yet. But after devoting so much time to creative writing, and planning on continuing that dedication, I wanted to see it carry into my occupation.

I maintained that plan to the present moment, where I’m about a decade into sticking with my drive to take writing classes and contribute to a future career. I’ve even gone onto an editing position, which I figured might be a helpful step towards my occupation. Yet I also had some strange assumption that when picking up such a position, I’d pull away from any direction of writing until it slowly became a hobby and I was consumed by my love for editing.

However, on my second semester into being a part of FLARE’s editing staff, quite the opposite has happened. Rather than silently writing for just myself, classmates, and professors, I’ve ended up pushing myself out into a role as a writer along with cultivating my editing skills. I expected to withdraw into a background role, yet I’m instead sending my work out for others to judge. Quite soon, in fact, and it is terrifying. But I will have done it. Not once, but at least twice. See? Now I’m starting to wonder just how crazy I will get with sending my work out.

Knowing me, it will probably just be those two submissions.

I think I’ve realized two things from these developments, though. Writing and editing aren’t separate. Putting more effort into one thing than the other doesn’t mean I have to ignore the importance of what got me interested in editing in the first place. In fact, I haven’t written many new things for what I’m planning to submit this semester. I’m really just editing a manuscript and a paper. The fact that editing is also a part of the individual’s writing process itself should’ve clued me into the fact that I can’t put one down to keep up the other. Other than that, I’ve realized I enjoy writing in it’s various forms too much for me to just let it sit in the backseat. There’s so much more to learn about writing. Too many things for me to try with my writing. It’s an experiment and I’m going to keep mixing various chemicals to see what concoctions I can discover. I’d miss out on some colorful reactions if I didn’t.