By Allison Stein
I am very excited to start my summer project of blogging; each post will be a wonderful opportunity to share my ideas, goals, projects, and dreams with my readers. This blog will center on my passion – writing – but it could veer into other parts of my life because, for me, words influence everything. I cannot wait to record my experiences for you!
I would like to start by introducing myself as Allison Stein. My passion for writing goes back a long way – to elementary school, in fact. My mom was a writer, and I wanted to be one as well; I wrote stories and journal entries and developed a strong love for writing. After fourth grade, I wished to write not just a story but a published story. I needed readers, people who would immerse themselves in my words. I was talking to my mom one day and mentioned the possibility of me making submissions to a newspaper she wrote for called The Lakeshore Guardian (www.lakeshoreguardian.com). As an alternative, Mom helped me search the Internet for a publication kids wrote for, and we discovered an online magazine called Amazing Kids! (www.amazing-kids.org). I submitted my stories, both fiction and nonfiction, and it felt tremendous to see my name printed at the top of the page – and even better to imagine the individuals potentially inspired by my writing. About a year later, I was asked to be a staff member of Amazing Kids!; I am a contributing author and submit to the online magazine monthly.
I wrote my first poem in fifth grade and loved the way poetry allows the expression of feelings. My next big endeavor came shortly afterwards. A friend gave me a flier for the America Library of Poetry contest. Every year, the America Library of Poetry publishes an anthology of accepted poems and showcases winners. I have never won a contest for the America Library of Poetry, but my writing has been published in three of the poetry collections!
A major aspiration of mine was to write a book; that goal nagged at me relentlessly until I finally pursued it. I knew I had reached a breakthrough when my mom told me about a discussion she’d had with a local poet who introduced Mom and me to the idea of a chapbook. I had never heard of a chapbook at the time, but I learned that it is a short book, typically with a theme. After that, the dream of writing a book slowly became a reality.
I wrote summer poems, typed them up, and made a list of “Steps to Become an Author” with my mom. Next, I received a critique, and my mom (Janis Stein) edited my poems; Julie Purdy, editor of The Lakeshore Guardian, designed the chapbook, and Mom and I selected a cover photo. I decided on Summer Sensations as the title and chose a company called DiggyPOD to print the book. Then came marketing: submitting press releases; going to book signings, farmers’ markets, and Christmas bazaars; and asking local stores to carry Summer Sensations. Last summer, I gave my first presentation at the Port Austin History Center, and my parents, sister, and grandparents all came to support me. Although I was anxious about the event, I loved telling readers how Summer Sensations changed from an idea to a book, and I hope to do more speaking this summer. Despite some challenges in writing, publishing, and marketing my chapbook – including being paranoid about revisions, the fear of what people think of my poetry, and feeling nervous before reading poems – I believe the process is extremely rewarding.
Writing a chapbook was a wonderful experience. I have learned several things, especially persistence; I definitely struggled at times, but when I was in the middle of a difficulty, I remembered why I wanted to publish a book – to share my writing – and that was and always will be enough incentive to keep trying.
Sharing one’s heart is incredibly special, and that is the strongest reason I love writing – and why I am so thrilled with the prospect of blogging! I am about to publish my first blog post and have the chance to offer inspiration and motivation. Within minutes, I will begin my newest adventure. I hope you will join me!