Schools and educators try to motivate kids to become proficient writers; however, getting young people interested in writing is not a simple feat. Having them sit down (and stay seated) for 30 minutes to write a page-long paper is definitely unappealing to those who would prefer to be out playing.
What I found, though, was that — with my parents help — writing let me capture my fantasy adventures down on paper, so I could relive them at a later time. This fostered in me a life-long love of the written word.
When I was little, I was not much different from other free-spirited children. I wanted nothing more than to climb trees and pretend to be a damsel in distress. There was never a time when I wasn’t an imaginative child. Maybe it was because I was an only child, and I didn’t have the blessing (or curse) of siblings to entertain me (or drive me nuts). I was always filled with bizarre and novel ideas that would take me to new heights. I would act out the entire adventure for my family, playing both the heroes and the villains. I found my voice through storytelling.
My parents were always supportive and fostered my creativity. They also encouraged writing, even when I was very young. My mother would sit by my side and translate my stories into written words. I would draw illustrations to accompany the stories with my markers, crayons, and colored pencils, and my dad would help me bind the papers together with pieces of string or yarn. Seeing the finished product made me feel proud, and inspired me to continue bookmaking. Before long, I had created a tiny library of my fiction.
These early experiences motivated me to write as soon as I was able to. I wanted the independence to create a book all on my own. One Christmas, I surprised my parents with my very own picture book about a reindeer who wanted to go to the moon. My parents were so delighted by my initiative that they shared my story with family and friends. They even entered it into a competition. I didn’t win, but I gained a much greater reward: a love for writing.
All the encouragement and early support from my parents opened up the world of writing for me. I sought out every opportunity to learn from teachers and other writers. I was always open for feedback. I would beg my parents for advice on my characters, storylines, and themes. They were always willing to share their insight, and they taught me to take control of my own originality and have confidence in my voice.
Nevertheless, as I grew older, my writing grew into essays, memoirs, poems, plays, and articles inspired by my own life experiences. The practice I got from writing stories years earlier prepared me for more mature genres. I began to submit my works for publication, hoping that my voice would be heard by others. It didn’t take long for me to realize that writing is a powerful tool with many benefits.
Undoubtedly, writing is beneficial for achieving success in school. All essays, even those on the most boring topics, have room for creativity. Trying my luck with writing competitions, I realized that my work could bring in some monetary prizes. A bit of extra pocket cash makes any teenager happy! I also noticed that a writer can make a difference and change people’s minds. I could entertain, yet, also inform people about my world, opinions, hopes and dreams.
Creating books and stories was a great way to get me interested in writing. Just letting my imagination run wild empowered the little dreamer in me. I’m grateful for my family helping me to make books and listening to my ideas. They instilled in me confidence and pride — no matter what I wrote. However, the most important thing is that my writing has provided me with keepsakes of so many memories.
Occasionally, I return to my adventures. I relive every exhilarating moment and smile as I’m transformed once again into that little girl, who could never stay still. It was through writing that I was able to channel my imagination. I’m glad that I have these stories, so the magic can live again.
Aglaia Ho is a 16-year-old student from Queens who enjoys writing. Her work has been published in Creative Kids, Skipping Stones, Daily News-Children’s Pressline, and The State of the Wild.