Howdy UNAVSA, it’s Olyvia your Editor-in-Chief from the Northwest! I was both honored and humbled to be able to serve you all this year and I am sad to be closing out this fruitful term ultimately, I have decided to not return next year. This is not because I don’t love UNAVSA (I always have and will), but I am currently pursuing as an outreach coordinator with the amazing Project Yellow Dress. With my term ending, I wanted to share two valuable lessons I learned as Editor-in-Chief and leave you with food for thought:
1. Bad content, lazy writing, and that awful poem that got a C- in your creative writing course, all of it is still content that needs to be unleashed into the world; it will make you become a better writer/content producer/social media guru, etc. I promise.
A former professor I taught a freshmen engagement course with, Clint Edwards, was curious about my future plans as a new grad. He asked me what my ambitions were and also what I actually wanted to do with my life. He also asked if I was going to actually use my Public Health degree for something. To both questions, I replied, “I don’t know, Clint, I really don’t”. He then asked me if I liked writing, creative writing, as he locked his dark blues eyes into mine, scratching his strawberry blonde mustache. Clint gazed back into my eyes and said, “look Olyvia, if you really want to write, you got to be writing something for at least two hours a day or more or with all the free time you got. It doesn’t matter if it’s some good shit or not, you just write. If you’re seriously going to become a writer, tough cookies, but shits not going to write itself.” He gave me a quick smirky smile and told me we could stop playing hot seat and that I should give this “future life career thing” a serious pondering session.
I graduated from Oregon State University in 2015 with a public health degree and that same fall, Clint published his first book ever, “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Parenting. Marriage.Madness)”. He had major news outlets like USA Today, visited his home in Albany, Oregon, to interview him and his family and how they lead to his inspiration for his latest published book.
Obviously, that conversation in Clint’s office remains one of the main reasons why I turned back to creative writing as an outlet of not only expression but passion. And although I don’t commit to writing two hours a day, when I do write, I know that any content, good, okay, or just shitty words in a sentence, I still publish it online for the digital world to read. Each time I write and publish a story, I still reflect upon it months later and revise the original to add more thoughts or fix that missed coma from the first edits. This rule applies to other creative outlets and expressions as well.
2. Like pouring a beautiful vanilla latte or cappuccino, writing is a process and a craft that will continue to sharpen/develop over time.
Being from the Pacific Northwest, I have a deep appreciation for coffee culture. I freaking love coffee and I spend most of my time in coffee shops, working on writing pieces for your reading pleasure. And I had this bright ass idea back in January of 2017 to apply to a local wholesale coffee roaster and become a barista. The hiring manager also really loved my appreciation for coffee and gave me my first barista apron. I went to barista boot camp and the following week, I was pouring lattes on my own. However, I was getting flustered when I had to pour a simple rosetta or heart. The milk wasn’t thick enough or my thumb got in the way or I was dipping the milk pitcher too low in the cup. Being left-handed didn’t help for pouring lattes either.
Anything I poured while applying technique just didn’t turn out right, or palatable. I either poured really lopsided hearts or my thumbs slipped out from the pitcher and I pour some phallic looking shapes. My manager finally noticed after that last phallic-looking latte made its way to a customer. She set up a milk pouring station for me and told me to concentrate on just pouring one shape at a time and apply the methods of milk pouring learned in barista school. Each shift and during downtime, she made me pour milk until my thumbs cramped. By the end of February, I hadn’t quite mastered milk pouring yet bit definitely was pouring anymore phallic shapes in people’s lattes.
So, like a barista pouring milk for a latte, learning how to write or strengthen your craft of writing is a continuous process. It’s a continuum and as cliche but accurate, practice makes perfect. I spent much of this year learning how to write a variety of creative styles as well as read such inspiration content that fueled my writing game with so much more confidence. I had to remember that the only way I was going to build my writing skills was to publish online, get feedback/edits, and then repost or re-edit my writing pieces. I can’t rush a craft that takes a lifetime to achieve.
Love, peace, from your now former, Editor-in-Chief.