I remember the first day I decided to buck up and write for the Whyville Times. I was tired of reading the articles, I wanted to write my own. I wanted people to read my articles and enjoy them, but I never knew what to write about, and I was always too scared to try. 'Everyone writes so much better than me,' I would think to myself. But I finally bucked up and opened up my e-mail. I juggled some ideas around in my head, not sure what to write about for my first time. I didn't want to seem like I was trying too hard, and I also didn't want to seem like I wasn't trying at all. I decided on a simple interview about the environment, easy and effective. A week later, I didn't see my article in the Times, so I brushed it off and decided I'd try again another time. I headed to my mailbox and someone had said, "Congrats on the interview Courtney!" I didn't understand what they meant, since I hadn't seen it. I re-opened the Times, and sure enough, it really was there. My first article.
After that, I had the courage to submit 1-3 things every week. Some things made it, some didn't. I didn't let the rejects bother me, I took it as criticism, to make myself better. Eventually, I delved into the realm of poetry. My first poem got in, but looking back on it I don't understand how it did. My poem skills in the past were really near terrible, but then again they're what got me started. Week after week I was throwing out poems, either from personal experience or just from the deep crevices of my mind. I had also mixed in some prose and people articles, but poetry is what I was mostly about for weeks and weeks. I realized my skill was getting better, and people were enjoying my poems more. Realizing this growth made me tear up. I really can grow, and make my skills better.
To this day, I know there is always room for improvement, whether it be better word choice or grammar, but I always like to think that I'm doing my best. That day of the 2011 Times Awards changed my life. I couldn't believe I was nominated for the poetry prize, I was in disbelief. (Thank you by the way, to all who nominated and voted for me.) I had no thought in my mind that I would win, especially being up against those amazing poets. When AMae called my name, I wanted to cry. I realized in that very moment how much I really have grown as a poet, and a writer. I was speechless and all I could do was thank the friends I have on Whyville for being there for me and making sure I didn't give up. These friends are kittieme, and xoxkitkat. They encouraged me to keep writing, even though I felt like my writing wasn't good. I believe they are a big reason why I won that award. Also, the people who read my poem, nominated it, and voted for it. I can't thank all of you enough. Winning poem of the year is such a great honor, and I never thought I'd be able to clinch that.
Looking back on all of this, I know that I'll be writing for the Times for a long time to come. I won't let myself or anyone else discourage me. I believe writing is something I'll be doing for my whole life, and I enjoy it. I like being able to write things people can relate to, and enjoy. It really lights up my heart to know people like what I do. And this is to everyone on Whyville; if you ever want to write, sing, or chase your dreams, try. You never know what'll happen until you try. Just look at me, I tried, and even though I didn't start out well, I got better and even won an award. Chase your dreams, you never know what'll happen.
And a special thanks to AMae. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, I don't know how I can thank you for all you've done.
Until next time,