(If the post below seems less lively than usual, it's because I wrote it for several essay competitions. Since a lot of them ask for a "personal experience", I just copy and paste the same essay, to save time. And now I'm reusing it as a blog post, too. I'm so economical.)
I have always been an avid storyteller. My love for narrative was what drove me to achieve one of the larger accomplishments of my life: getting published.
I started writing at the age of eight. I couldn't actually write words very well at the time, but I had many ideas for stories, so I drew a long series of cartoons about an adventurous baby named Jeff. Jeff braved villainous pirates, volcanoes, and ancient pyramids, and flew his own airplane, despite not even being one year old. Around the age of twelve, I graduated from making comic strips to writing stories, starting with a series about a bumbling detective named Blumber. Eventually, after a few years of writing, I decided to take the initiative and attempt to publish something.
In order to reach my goal, I first had to research the different short story markets available. I looked on the internet to try to find magazines, but had to sift carefully through the barrage of possibilities to find the best ones. Only a few magazines would accept the type of fiction I wrote, and I needed to match the genre, style, and word length with the sort normally published in each magazine. Eventually, I found a good one: Stone Soup, a magazine that publishes the work of children thirteen years old and younger. At the time, I was still young enough to be published in it, so I sent in my first Blumber story. It wasn't accepted.
Not to be deterred, I pressed on past the rejection, and decided to try sending another story to Stone Soup. This time, however, I wrote the story with the Stone Soup magazine firmly in mind. I had noticed that the magazine liked stories that were on the serious side, with morals to them, and so I modeled my story accordingly. I also added one of my favorite plot devices, a twist ending, waiting until the end to reveal that the setting for the story was on the Titanic.
This made the story fresh despite its slightly hackneyed moral. This time, my story was accepted by Stone Soup.
By applying the lessons learned from my Stone Soup experience, I have had another article published, this time in Cicada, a prominent literary magazine for teenagers. The initiative and persistence that I put towards research and writing for a specific market led to success. By using these skills, I plan to continue widening my literary horizons, and hope to one day become an official, self-supporting author.