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It's Our Turn: Learning the ropes of writing

I've always been a word person. I suppose this could be a result of my early developed identity of being an avid bookworm and a long time lover of English class. Even at an early age, I can recall viewing words differently than those around me. Now that I think about it, I have always viewed words less as a collection of letters and more a force of nature — things that can be used by a craftsman with a pen and paper to move people. To stir something in their soul. To get them thinking. And even at an early age, I was hooked.

I came to love the challenge of making my mom cry happy tears upon reading handwritten holiday and birthday cards. Despite my otherwise shy demeanor, I found myself gladly volunteering to read speeches in class and write them for crowds of people. Growing up with a sibling who was (and still is) more coordinated and athletically inclined than myself, writing was something I could own as my thing. Something I was good at.

Fast forward to today, and not much has changed. Writing is still my passion. I still crave a reader's reaction and I'm definitely a hopeless romantic for the written word. I've taken every writing course offered by my school and plan on pursuing a mass communications major next fall.

All of this being said, it is safe to say when I heard about an internship opportunity at the paper my junior year of high school, I jumped on it. In the weeks following my application, I emailed my reporter friend Celeste from the Echo Press relentlessly for updates. When I finally received that much anticipated call back at the beginning of this summer, I was over the moon. It was my dream gig and I was absolutely elated (my boyfriend and family members can attest to the fact that I didn't shut up for weeks). In the weeks prior to my starting, I was more excited than I had ever been. I was confident. After all, I would be in my element.

If I'm being truthful though, my first few weeks of working at Echo Press were hard ones. For the first time in my life, in the world of writing I was completely and utterly in over my head. I had my work critiqued in a way I had never experienced, and wrote and discarded more drafts than I had in my lifetime. I felt like an incompetent child in an office full of adults. I slowly lost confidence in my writing and honestly believed I might not be cut out for my dream career after all. My dear friend Celeste, having been my writing mentor for years, sensed this. She told me it would get better, and as much as I may have struggled to believe it then, she was right (it seems moms always are).

Interning at the Echo Press this summer has been the biggest learning curve and the best blessing in disguise imaginable. I applied for this internship thinking it would be a growth opportunity for my writing, but I am leaving with much more than that.

I'm not afraid to fail anymore.

After all, no one with real grit got everything right the first time.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Echo Press for their ceaseless kindness to a newbie like me this summer. My heart will be a heavy one when my time here comes to a close.

Most of all, Celeste, thank you for believing in me since the day I walked into your office at age 10. Who would have known an interview for a third grade school project would turn into all of this? Your smile was the one I looked forward to every morning this summer, and the one I'll miss seeing most come September. You lit the flame under my passion for writing, and have helped me keep it there. Thank you for being my cheerleader.

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"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.