The Road So Far

I’ve had a passion for writing most of my life, but it took a long time to take myself seriously as writer. My writing habits were inconsistent and often took a back seat to living life and trying to make a living. I got a bit of a start in high school working on the school paper. A competition to recreate it online sparked an interest in publishing online and I picked up a few basic coding skills. An interest I picked up again years later when I returned to school. My first attempt at college didn’t go so well.

I went back to school still unsure of what I wanted but had been looking into careers in magazines and online publications. I attended a community college taking journalism, creative writing, and media production classes. I interned for a newborn photography and photo-sharing website, which also provided me with my first freelance writing gig. This time around I was enjoying college, so I continued, receiving a bachelor’s in communications from The College of Staten Island. In classes and outside of school I got to experiment with a variety of writing creative work, blogging, music reviews, photography, copyediting, website and graphic design, marketing, volunteering for arts festivals, etc. Meanwhile, I worked in the college administrative offices starting in a work study position, eventually gaining a fulltime accounting assistant spot.

I graduated in January of 2013, over a year later I was still at the college. I’d let myself become complacent, putting little effort into my job search and was frustrated by the lack of time and energy I had for writing. I thought if I didn’t leave soon, I’d end up stuck and unhappy there. I didn’t really have a plan when I left except to focus on writing and opportunities to grow and advance. I volunteered for 826 NYC and the Brooklyn Book Festival, started taking NY Writers Coalition workshops, and joined a couple writing groups. I was able to stretch my savings with the help of a few freelance writing assignments and some research work for a college professor. After about a year, I started at Barnes & Noble for the holidays and was called back for a permanent position. I finally felt like I was on the right track when life threw a wrench at me; circumstances forced me and my boyfriend to move out of New York City.

We moved to Pennsylvania in September of 2016. Unexpected, abrupt and a bit traumatizing I was left struggling to write for a long time. In the meantime, I got a job at the local public library and started leading a monthly writing workshop. My attempts at writing felt too sporadic and lacked progress. I was also experimenting with visual arts, expanding into crafting projects such as bookmaking and bookmarks I’d eventually start selling. I bounced around between different projects and had trouble sticking with a regular writing practice. Somewhere about late 2019, I finally started getting it together. Then we got the shit show of 2020, which for me luckily worked out in my favor. I started taking writing classes online and becoming involved in online writing communities. In November,  participated in NaNoWriMo working on a memoir. It was the first time I’d reached the 50,000 word goal after several attempts.

While I enjoyed my time at the library, I was beginning to feel stagnant and complacent. In order to continue developing as a writer and workshop leader, I resigned in May of this year. I have since, attended the Amhurst Writers & Artist training to become a certified workshop leader.

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© 2020 Alexis M. Collazo