by Caitlin Hertzberg
As early as I can remember, I’ve always been a writer. I’d always been gifted diaries throughout my childhood, swirling gel pen tips to doodle hearts in the margins near the names of boys I crushed on, spilling the ink of my secrets onto lavender-scented paper. I would steal phrases from overheard conversations and work them into melodies that tortured me from inside my head (I still do this). One of my earliest memories of being a writer is from 4th grade, ripping out sheets from a 99-cent spiral notebook and begging my grandmother to “staple it good” down the middle so that I can write stories like Judy Blume and Jerry Spinelli.
Notice I make no mention of writing in school: The kind of writing with strict sentence and paragraph minimums, about topics I couldn’t care about no matter how hard I tried. The kind of writing that you work on for weeks on end in the overheated computer lab, revising, revising, revising, memorizing the teacher-provided rubric until every word of your assignment sounds like an owner’s manual for a VCR.
by S. E. Roberts
Writing is not a career that has ever paid enough money. Now, I’m not talking about bloggers or journalists, who could certainly stand to make more but don’t necessarily have to. I’m talking about novelists, poets, and short story writers, those artists who are self-advertising on social media, submitting to literary magazines, and publishing books of their work, all in the hope of being recognized and well-compensated for their work.