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Shaping my Story

As someone who has always struggled in the domain of creative writing, condensing my 17 years of life experience into a short, engaging and stylistically refined story seems a daunting task.

My story has a creased spine, missing pages, crossed out lines, illegible scribbles in the margins, and likely an abundance of grammatical errors. Nonetheless, in each of the 6,388 days leading up to where I am now, I have accumulated a wealth of memories, experiences, challenges, failures, and successes which will forever be etched in my story. I have also learnt the values of resilience, kindness, and humility, and gained the perseverance to put pen to paper each day to continue to shape my story.

An important lesson I’ve learned when struggling with a task, is to seek help and learn from someone with the skills, expertise and experience to set me in the right direction. So, I have turned to the wisdom of J.K Rowling to guide the course of my narrative. Despite not being able to liken my story to Harry Potter’s heroic feats against Voldemort or Hermione’s effortless academic brilliance, there is much to learn from their fictional journeys. Rowling’s top suggestions for writing are reading, discipline, resilience, courage, and independence. When I consider these in the framework of “owning our story”, each gives valuable insight into how we can enrich and nourish our lives and stories.

Reading encourages us to look at those around us, identify our role models and use their influence as inspiration to be the best versions of ourselves. These can be public figures, teachers, fellow Wenonians, friends, or family. Ground your story in an inspiring setting with characters that support and improve your writing. Next, Rowling speaks of the discipline needed to spend each day aiming to better ourselves and to continue turning the page despite highs and lows. Resilience and humility encourage us to pick ourselves up in times of failure, disappointment, and insecurity. As Rowling says, rejection and criticism are part of a writer’s life. As the authors of our own stories, people may question our decisions, disagree, or attempt to remove the ink from our pens. We must accept feedback with grace but also know when to be courageous to stand up for ourselves. Finally, independence. We must embrace and own our story.

In any narrative arc, there will inevitably be highs and lows, moments of tension and tranquillity, resolutions and new beginnings. Each day we live with the past pushing from behind, the present walking along side us, and the future encouraging us to strive for goals, embracing what lies ahead. As I so keenly remember from year 7 English, a bildungsroman is the story of individual growth and realisation. So, view your story as a bildungsroman, a narrative that is forever changing and evolving.

To leave you with final words from J.K Rowling, “Ultimately, in writing as in life, your job is to do the best you can, improving your own inherent limitations where possible, learning as much as you can and accepting that perfect works of art are only slightly less rare than perfect human beings”. Thank you!


Lucy Robertson
Creative Arts Co-Captain