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A Room of My Own competition – Highly Commended: Millicent Bevan

Filed under: Non-fiction

The Aspiring Writer

I first read A Room of One’s Own in August this year. In one night. I was so inspired by the words I read that I immediately sat down and wrote not one; not five; not ten; but fourteen pages in my diary about all the thoughts it had inspired in me. My mind was a whirr – the essay was an eye opening look into the past. I felt connected to Woolf, Austen and all these other great authors. The feeling of connection and being understood is not one I was well acquainted with, and for the first time I truly considered the idea that I too could be a writer, because if they can do it so can I. In that moment I joined the collective of ‘the aspiring writer’. And then it hit me: I was one of the lucky ones. I could only be a writer because I knew how to write, and I only had the confidence to do so because I knew how to read, so therefore was able to read Woolf’s essay. Which goes to say, the first and most important thing the aspiring writer requires is an education. Not a higher education as Woolf speaks of, simply the basic skills of literacy. We cannot ever hope to be writers if we cannot write – it’s in the job title!

Once these skills have been realised, I say the next requirement is to have access to books (or poetry or plays) in order to learn and be inspired, as I was by Woolf. So the aspiring writer needs either: a) money, or b) a library. Money will buy the books, the library will provide them for free. Next they need a pen and paper, along with an opportunity to share their creation. Not long ago this would have been available through stationary supplies and endorsed publication only, but nowadays a wonderful platform exists in the form of the internet; the aspiring writer can draft and share their works with the world at the click of a button. But they’ll need a computer, which means they require a) money, or b) a library. Money will buy a computer, a library – most libraries – will offer them for free.

The final necessities of the aspiring writer are unlike those previously mentioned. They are not external factors, although they can be influenced by them. The aspiring writer needs also something within themselves – a special spark. A spark of belief, curiosity, story, and desire. Belief they can write. Curiosity for the world to inform their writing. Story formed from curiosity; giving birth to ideas. Desire to scribble down the ideas and make a masterpiece.

Just as the resulting works are multifaceted, so too is the aspiring writer. Their needs, motives, and journey of penmanship could span infinite pages, but here is the essential sponging – an opening to the future of literature. Here is a basic guide to the aspiring writer’s needs.

Millicent Bevan
15 years old
Rochester Independent College, Kent