My Writing Journey (So Far)

As I wrote about in my “Life Will Get Better” post, I was going through a bit of rough patch last spring. Long story short, I lost motivation, had no interests, hobbies, or goals, and I was pretty isolated. But eventually, things started going my way, and life got a bit better. One major factor in this sudden life improvement was becoming a writer at CelebMix. Exactly one year ago, on May 13th, 2016, my writing journey began. So grab a snack and get comfy while I tell you the full story- it’s gonna be a long one!

In the midst of my spring slump last year, I still had the Internet. I was still excited about YouTubers and music and pop culture- in fact, those were usually the things that kept me going. I spent plenty of time on Twitter and Tumblr, but my foot was always half in the fandom door. Even though I knew I should be unapologetic about what I liked, I still felt a little silly for being obsessed with certain things (and people). I wanted to contribute something meaningful, so my time spent on the Internet didn’t feel like a total waste. However, I couldn’t draw fanart if my life depended on it and writing fanfiction wasn’t really my thing.

At the same time, I was trying to find a passion, something to give me purpose and direction in life. I had always said this was writing, even though I never really did much writing. I loved any writing exercise I had to do in English class, and I sometimes wrote in journals. Of course, I also loved to read. But that was about it. As much as I wanted writing to mean something more to me, I never really knew where to start. So, I felt a little lost and unsure in both the worlds of writing and fandoms.

And then came the solution for both of my problems. I kept seeing the name CelebMix pop up on my Twitter feed, and long story short, I applied to be a writer. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to hear anything back. I was too scared of rejection that I didn’t tell anyone about it. But, I was so excited at the possibility of being part of a website where I could write about all the people I admired, and finally being able to do something writing-wise and fandom-wise.

I remember putting so much effort into my first article– I must have read it over a thousand times. To this day, I probably know more about that Bawse lipstick than Lilly Singh herself does. By some miracle, my article was published and I was welcomed to the team. I’ll never, ever forget the feeling of seeing my article on the front page of CelebMix for the first time. I still had no idea that I would get to experience that feeling hundreds of times in the next year.

My first article on the homepage of CelebMix. Throwback to the old layout!

I can’t even begin to describe how much writing for CelebMix has helped me. It came into my life at the perfect time. For once, I was excited about something again. When I first started, I would be so excited when I stumbled across some news on Twitter I could write about. I’d spend lots of time perfecting exactly what I wanted to say, finding the perfect featured image, embedding tweets and videos, and then rereading everything multiple times. It was an entirely new world for me, thrilling, fascinating, and worth spending a good portion of my free time on.

It was this sheer enthusiasm that kept me writing consistently and passionately throughout May, into exam season, and throughout my summer, where I could spend the entire day writing if I wanted to. Now, I’m a bit more used to the entire process, and I’ve had to learn to be more efficient and concise. But I still love every minute of it. The girl who was so excited to see something she wrote on the front page of a website pokes her head out and smiles every time I post something on CelebMix.

Then, there’s the amazing team of people at CelebMix. I had no idea that I would be introduced to a group of talented, passionate, and like-minded people that inspire me every day. This group of people was exactly what I needed at the time. I felt like I was the only person in my school taking English and media related courses. Everyone else seemed to be interested in science or business, and I felt very alone in my choices. Of course, I doubted if I was even doing the right thing. But then, I was exposed to a group of over 100 people who love the same things as me. People who see the value in pop culture and entertainment and are passionate about writing. Even though I’m not the most talkative person (even online) just being around this group has influenced me so much.

There are countless other amazing things that have come out of me writing for CelebMix, and now Fuzzable. Some of my absolute favourite people I’ve written about have noticed my articles. When Dodie read my review of her EP and tweeted me saying “you get me and you get my art”, I think I burst into tears. (I literally printed out that tweet and stick it on the cork board above my desk). I’ve also had some awesome experiences with other fans of the people I write about, who were incredibly kind about my work. I even have a super exciting interview lined up for the end of May- it’ll definitely be a full circle, what-is-my-life moment when it’s published!

This experience has also eased my worries about my future significantly. I have an online portfolio of everything I’ve written, and I have so much work to choose from when providing samples of my writing for university applications. Not only that, but looking back on my first articles I can see just have much I’ve picked up and improved on in just one year. I’ve gotten to interview artists and communicate with their agents and representatives, something that I didn’t even fathom was possible to do at 16 years old. Heck, I even got cited on Wikipedia! They say that you learn best by doing, and by writing nearly 200 pieces on CelebMix in the past year, I have taught myself so many valuable skills, learned a lot about the entertainment industry, and had a blast while doing so.

Of course, this whole journey hasn’t exactly been easy. There have been some setbacks and discouragements along the way, but I try to learn something from all of them. Many of them have been around deadlines, as I am a chronic procrastinator even when I’m really excited about an article. Other times, the words just aren’t flowing. Writer’s block is inevitable. I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to get started and push through, even if you think what you’re writing is garbage. And then, there’s guilt, if I missed a deadline, didn’t post anything in a while, or got a news piece out late (or never).  And of course, this pity party wouldn’t be complete without insecurity and self-doubt! I know that I shouldn’t compare myself to others, especially because I’m young and essentially self-taught, but sometimes I do it anyways.

I’ll admit that all of these things aren’t easy to deal with, and I’m still constantly working through most of them. But I’ve learned to accept them all as part of the writing process, and throughout the last year I’ve grappled with them and survived to tell the tale.

I also realize that in terms of writing, I still have a long way to go. I’m far from being a professional journalist- but it certainly is fun to pretend that I am sometimes! I’ll be applying to some universities with journalism programs next year, and hopefully that will help me along my writing journey. As for specific goals, right now I’m really into entertainment journalism. Through the last year with CelebMix, I’ve learned how valuable it can be, and how it truly is possible to embrace positivity and write about significant topics within that genre. It’s definitely a path I want to continue exploring!

If nothing else, this whole experience at CelebMix has affirmed that I love to write. It’s one of the only things that makes me inexplicably fulfilled, happy, and purposeful. Right now, my focus is on journalism, but I also love writing here on Fuzzable and being able to take the time to write lengthy or personal posts about literally anything I want. I’ve been itching to start my own blog or website, and I’ll probably tackle it this summer.

It sounds a bit dramatic, but if I hadn’t started writing for CelebMix when I had, I honestly don’t know what I would be doing right now. It scares me to think that I might not even be writing at all. I couldn’t really bring myself to write consistently before that point. I didn’t have any clear goals or direction. The seed was there, I always knew I liked to write. But this opportunity gave me the chance to water it and watch it grow into something beautiful.

So thank you, CelebMix and Fuzzable, for everything. The past year has been an absolute dream, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of my writing journey will take me.

Don’t forget to tweet us your thoughts @Fuzzable.You can tweet me @rietherie, and check out my articles on CelebMix here!

Written by Annemarie

Canadian arts & culture writer and journalism student.

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