Scholars of Sturges: TaTyana Payne (’21) on The Writing Life

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with writing. I often have periods of loving it so much that I can’t stop writing and then other periods of not liking it at all. The difficulty lies in what I like to write. Usually, when I come up with a story idea, I think of the exciting event that kicks off the story or that ends it. For instance, when I was in 8th grade, I thought of a story ending with the mother of the heroine being the villain. I was so excited that I immediately started writing it. Unfortunately, I found this process to be quite difficult. As I began writing the beginning, the only thing I could think of was the end. I also was too focused on length: I wanted this to be a long story and not something that would only take a few minutes to read. So I always kept thinking that I had to write more before I could write the end. As a result, my story felt rushed and not thought through. This led me to give up on the story and made me fall into a period of not liking to write at all. 

Over time, I tried writing more stories but I continued to have the same issue. The most recent time I tried writing something for pleasure was the summer of 2018. I had a dream and I was inspired to try to write a book about it. I gave it my all for the first three days. I wrote up character sheets and the basic plot. Then I wrote down the characters’ motivations and objectives for various points in the book. On the fourth day, I decided to actually try writing it. To my dismay, I started having the same issues as before: I was so excited for the ending that it made everything else a bore. However, I didn’t want to give up on this story, so I decided to shift gears and write the ending first. After that, I wrote all the other parts of the story that I was excited for. I discovered that this approach to writing was easier than my previous approach. 

The realization that I didn’t have to start from the beginning was a big deal for me. This whole time my process of just trying to write the story from the beginning was wrong. Maybe that works for others but, for me, it’s easier to write all the moments I’m excited for first and then add all the other details later. I think it’s important for us all to listen to ourselves and find out what works best for us. That means not always following what is done and taught by others but finding your own way.

6 Replies to “Scholars of Sturges: TaTyana Payne (’21) on The Writing Life”

  1. Crystal

    This is so very insightful Ta. I’m so proud of you. Stay true to yourself and always remember to keep God first. Everything will work out for you. I’m bubbling over with joy. Love you 😘

    • Joshua Mitchell

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m proud of you & happy for you. You have an incomparable gift Ta. Keep writing and stirring that gift because it encourages and excites people more than you can see or measure.

  2. Dianne Charity

    This really works for you. I’m so glad you have found your way. It shows me i didn’t waste my time listening to your writing. Proud to be called your granny

  3. Joshua Mitchell

    Ok Ta!!! I’m so happy for you and proud of you. I’m inspired reading this, but I’m not surprised. You have a unique incomparable gift. Keep writing and stirring that gift because it encourages and excites people more than you can see or measure.


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