Once upon a time, in a valley filled with happy people, there was an 11-year-old schoolgirl who discovered the joys of writing. One of her friends introduced the concept of story writing, and ever since she scribbled in that first notebook in the Library after class that day, that little schoolgirl knew she was going to grow up and become a storyteller.
One of the first stories she ever told actually dates back a little further than her time in middle school. When she was about 3 or 4 years old, she decided to write her first story. She even did the illustrations herself on printer paper. It was a magical story about a big scary wolf that came and decimated the homes of three innocent pigs. She stapled it together and went off to show her parents, but unfortunately, this story was already written as her parents read that story to her at bedtime.
For the time being, the little girl who wanted to grow up to become a storyteller let the dream remain dormant in her soul until she was older and found inspiration again.
When the schoolgirl reached the 7th grade, she was given the greatest opportunity by an amazing teacher known as Ms. Ciciliot. Her assignment was to write a short story, which ended up having about six chapters, as she can recall. Something about a fire and dark times. She was 12. It wasn’t great. But nevertheless, this little schoolgirl took that spark, that muse, and ran with it.
From that year forward, she always told herself, “If I can be anything, if I can have one job, I want to be a writer. I want to write novels. I want to be a NY Times #1 Best Selling Author.”
During weekends, her father would take her to Barnes and Noble. She would pick out a new book every week for him to buy so she could sit and dive into a new adventure while he worked in the cafe. Years went by, and she collected and read all kinds of books. The girl who hated reading for schoolwork would come to love reading for fun.
There was another great opportunity for her to write a story with some classmates in the 10th grade. It was about two siblings on Halloween who relived their death every year. Her teacher, Mr. Raup, even told her she had the best story in class.
For the last two years of high school, she would spend her extra class in Creative Writing. Those creative writing classes gave her dedicated time that helped her develop her skills. She even used this class for her senior project, which was a book of poetry filled with her own words and images.
In her free time, she was always scribbling stories in her notebooks. After deciding that her handwriting was far too illegible, she moved her writing to the computer. There were many late nights of creativity. At one point, she even wrote about 35,000 words of a Sci-Fi novel. She loved creating fantasy worlds where people could escape and feel a part of them.
As she moved on to life at University, she knew that creative writing would always be a part of her. That’s why she decided that for her second major, she would make Creative Writing a part of her art degree. She took some amazing classes, made a few like-minded friends, and wrote a few short stories that opened her up to a whole new world of possibilities.
While she grew up and it seemed like the magic was fading, she never let her dream die. Characters came to her, as did ideas, plot, and a futuristic world. Whenever she had a thought related to this big story developing inside of her, she would jot it down wherever she could. This story that had sparked inside of her in 2014 had pieces of information across various devices and applications. Staying true to her ADHD, it was organized chaos.
Life gets busy and hectic as we age; anyone can tell you that. Sometimes we have to work on our responsibilities instead of our dreams. She never forgot about her story. She was always adding pieces of information, working on various drafts, and playing out scenes and characters in her head. As long as she made movements of progress, no matter how small, she believed she would eventually have something solid.
Time marched on, and she was growing further and further from creating this mysterious world. Would she ever tell her story? What if she never touched the story again and just let her dream die?
Slowly but surely, she found a way to restore her dreams of being a storyteller. It began by moving all the organized chaos into actual organization. She discovered the magical app Scrivener. Finally, she had everything she had ever written on the story over the years all in one place, although it was still a mess. Forward she marched with a new draft and many new ideas. Growing up gave her loads of new-world experiences and culture.
Over the years, she bought books on novel writing and story structure, hoping to learn things that she couldn’t in her classes. Everything she learned at that point wasn’t for genre fiction but short stories and poetry. She was determined that when she finished her draft, it would be perfect because she would have researched everything and be full of novel knowledge. Perfect, perfect, it just had to be perfect. After all, she had been writing for almost 9 years on and off at this point. It should be perfect now, right?
One fine day, she decided to take herself seriously and try and get a solid novel draft completed by the time she was 30. The clock was ticking, and she might turn back into a pumpkin if she didn’t reach her goal. Or so she believed. On that day, she discovered an enchanting voice, one of the great Savannah Gilbo. It was at that moment that she found exactly what she needed; a deep dive into fiction novel writing that would inspire her. A familiar spark inside of her re-ignited the passion she had for storytelling.
In the months that followed, she enrolled herself in the Notes to Novel course. She started her work from scratch, this time with a solid foundation. So now she plots her way to her new draft, with better characters, better conflict, and a bright new world that was built from the ashes of her previous mindset. She was determined now, more than ever, that she would become a storyteller.
The story doesn’t end here, though. So much more is to come, and there are many more dreams to achieve.
TM Grey Photo is a Wedding and Portrait Photographer and a Private Editor in the New Jersey area. TM Grey Photo focuses on bright and bold stories and genuine smiles. Check out more weddings, portraits, and engagements in the gallery. Want TM Grey Photo to tell your story? Let’s chat.
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Sep 12, 2023
If you're new here, then let me welcome you to my blog! I am Taliya Michelle owner of TM Grey Photo. I am a New Jersey based Wedding & Portrait photographer as well as a Private Photo Editor. I of course serve New Jersey couples, but I travel to Connecticut, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, and wherever happy couples need their love stories told.
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