A New Project

So as I’ve mentioned previously, I have to complete an Honors thesis project over the next year. I am happy to tell you that I’m starting to put a plan into motion. It’s so nice to have some sort of idea of what I’m doing. Key words: sort of.

My professor/Honors program director approved of my tentative plan for a thesis, all I have to do is write up a little abstract summary, get a few signatures, and get crackin’. And luckily, the project I have visualized is one that should be very motivating.

Here comes in the new category on my blog. It’s that big of a deal. I want to write a book. Creative nonfiction. The idea first came from this very place, from finding so much fulfillment and joy from writing these weekday blogs and talking about the things I care about. Well, now I’m putting it on another page. A sheet of paper. I want to have the put organized by short, easy-to-read essays/chapters, very much like the format I use on this blog. If I’m whipping out 800-1000 words every day, why not make good use out of it?

This project is one that will be very different from others Honors students. Most of them are medical biology majors anyway, but most people at least do long research projects and papers. While I don’t mind writing a research paper, it’s not what is calling to me. Having to research one very specific topic for an entire year could be daunting if I lose motivation. Which, knowing me, I would. I did this summer when I tried to write a sample thesis about social media in this year’s presidential campaign. On paper, that sounds very interesting. But I just couldn’t get into it.

I work in a very specific way. Some people are appalled by the sheer fact that I write five blog posts a week. I don’t even think about how much work that probably seems. Probably because it doesn’t feel like work to me. It fits my working style very well. As a creative person with a few loose bolts upstairs (I don’t mind making fun of myself), I get really random spurts of energy and inspiration and I just roll with it. That usually means that I don’t write anything for several days, and then write up multiple posts in one day. It’s hard to predict when those moments might arise, so I rarely sit down without a specific idea in mind and expect myself to do work.

Not only my creative work style, I have always had the goal of publishing a book one day. I’m studying journalism, but my heart is always in creative literature.  Journalism is just a more practical degree. There’s a reason I love editing my newspaper’s opinion section and have not once considered doing any besides that. Writing hard news and for certain media platforms require adherence to certain guidelines and ideals, but I’m not one to put myself into a box. I’d much rather see my name on the sleeve of a hardcover. I want my voice to shine.

You may be wondering: what the heck is this book even about? If you couldn’t guess already, the tentative title is Finding My Happy. The inspiration came from a text I received from my mom recently about how despite the challenges I’ve faced, I have found myself in my own place, stronger and more vibrant than ever before. I want the collection of personal essays to range in similar topics I discuss on my blog, very centered on mental health and everything that entails.

It’s not like I’ll have some new profound information to add to the conversation. It’s not like I’m a special case unique from anybody else encountering similar problems. But I find that a point in of itself. That we somewhat expect very distinguishing characteristics of those with mental illness, or we only pay attention if a celebrity or someone influential mentions it. Everybody else is just white noise. I would like to dispel that notion. Only when every single person can feel empowered to break that stigma and shame. When we realize that every voice does matter and to actually listen.

Will my plans change somehow over the course of my project? Inevitably. But at this very moment, I am beyond excited for what the future may hold with this. It’s like I had this dream pushed far back from my immediate attention, and just the thought of turning it into a reality, or at least being able to say that I wrote an entire book on my own, is so gratifying. Is it a project directly related to my field of study? Not necessarily. Call me a dreamer, but if I could, I would want to do this for the rest of my life. Let my fingers dance along the keyboard or scratch words onto a piece of paper and see where the journey takes me. The fact that I might have some readers out there seeing the work in real-time progress is also something new and exciting. We’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.

I’m not one to stick to new habits or self-directed projects for very long. This is different. This is a passion. This is my book to write. This is my story to tell.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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