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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Matilde Nannizzi

Filed under: Non-fiction

A Room of My Own – Writing for Yourself

One of the things most young people have in common is their immense fear of disappointing others. Virginia Woolf wrote that “Intellectual freedom depends upon material things” and if writing depends on intellectual freedom then consequentially, all one needs to write is material things. However, in the UK today, intellectual freedom is no longer accessible through material things. While it may allow us to devote time to overcoming our own mental barricades, time does not suffice. Hence, today what one needs to be a writer is courage.

Media will inevitably have an influence on your life. Younger generations feel frightened to present their opinions for fear of backlash due to the vicious ways which strangers often butcher seemingly harmless comments. Despite knowing complete lack controversy is insurmountable, the root of this distress is the fundamental basis that revealing emotions, like those needed to construct good, sincere, sentimental writing, makes you vulnerable. And vulnerability is terrifying.

This fear derives from the inner desire to please others. Validation is a warm, comforting sensation; therefore, we seek it constantly; and when denied it, we are overcome with the suffocating sensation of defeat and failure to belong to a community or to produce something worthwhile. For many writers, their own sentiments are what fuel the plotlines or the conflicts of the characters and to have that criticised equivalates to receiving unsparing commentary on their own nature. Yet, if one was to refuse being experimental, they might unknowingly rewrite ten classics. No one wants to be accused of plagiarizing an old man with a glorious beard who died two hundred years ago and produced a literary masterpiece that to compete against would be suicidal. Even to attempt replicating the iconic beard is in-fact impossible and would inevitably lead to disappointment.

While inspiration may be drawn from previous great writers, young writers today feel pressured to live up to the standards of complete idolization which emerge from felt when these authors are repeatedly glorified in school. I myself, come from an Italian family and often feel pressured to become the next Dante Alighieri. Unfortunately, the only conceivable change I would make to his historic monument of scripture is that I would rightly remove Cleopatra from the inferno. But the main reason that the dream of becoming like these writers is so unattainable is because of society’s evolution. We as people cannot produce work with those precise themes or that syntax or language because it is never going to be a representation of the author’s own personal style.

Writers today need to forget about desperately striving for approval or imitating great works and remind themselves of their love of literature. By attempting to satisfy others, one represses one’s own authenticity. Nevertheless, one must acknowledge the apprehension in writing, as one’s writing reflects their psyche and exposes them for people to judge as they please, which is why writers today need courage to simply write for themselves.

Matilde Nannizzi
14 years old
Wimbledon High School, London