Among the world of writers, we all see things differently and we all individually get to our publishing points in different ways. It may shock others how some of the smallest accomplishments can set a career into action, but it can happen. For Elizabeth Zak, a hard-working writer and soon-to-be-known author, her accomplishments have pushed her, over the years, to become a better writer. Every writer had to start off living a very normal life without any idea about what they wanted for their future. Although, it may seem, with all the hype with authors now days, this isn’t true. Elizabeth is a wonderful example of a creative mind, who’s getting her start the same way every other writer starts: through hard-work and inspiration.
“I’m a seventeen-year-old Northern girl living in a Southern state, which honestly gives me the best of both worlds; Swiss Chalet and Chik-Fil-A!” She comments excitedly. But, Elizabeth was not the kind of girl who didn’t know what she wanted. No, she knew exactly what she wanted since the day she was born! Elizabeth continued, “Writing is what I love to do. I’ve been writing since I could talk, and it’s one of my passions. When I was thirteen, I used to visit my local library and look through all of the books. I told everyone I knew that I was going to be an author.” What inspired Elizabeth Zak to start her writing? At twelve, her friends convinced her to read, Twilight, and after that, she read Hunger Games, both books causing her to have what she calls her “epiphany”. Elizabeth said, “I, Elizabeth, could totally write a story about, and yes, I know it’s a little stupid, vampires fighting to the death in what would be known as the Immortal Games. Plus, of course, there would be a super vampire romance filled with angst and magic.” Reading this from her email made me admire her sense of creativity. I wouldn’t have ever paired Twilight and Hunger Games, but there you go folks, Elizabeth has done it! This idea, though brilliant, was tossed down the drain.
Instead, she began continuously shifting through ideas: a vampire military school, a mutant military school, and then, after three months of brainstorming, mutants, on the run, from an evil corporation. Elizabeth hysterically added, “Sound awful? It was…But, it was the first novel I finished and I loved it. I read that thing to all my friends and showed it to everyone I met. I was so proud of it.” She claims that’s when she got hooked on writing. She believed she was the only girl she knew who could say she found true love when she was thirteen with the written word. This was one of her biggest accomplishments in the world of writing, but only the start. Then, she wrote an article for a Catholic Newsletter, which was all about Catholic Heart Work Camp. “I didn’t get paid,” she explained, “but I keep it with me all the time, and whenever I’m upset about something, I check it out.” However, her victories do not stop there. Elizabeth’s third accomplishment was when she came in third place for the Wordsmith Writing Competition sponsored by the University of Memphis. She continued to relish in her victory by saying, “I know that after being published, contests probably don’t feel like a huge deal, but it totally did for me. I work hard and it’s always great to see my work rewarded.”
Lately, the world of writing has been a little chaotic, but in a way, we are all writers just searching for a place to stay. Our books are our most prized possessions, and we work hard to let everyone see what’s in between the front and back cover. I asked Elizabeth about the world of writing, since views are always different, and she answered, “Honestly, I see the world of writing as a big family…everyone knows about everyone else…You can forge a relationship with other people, you can make friends, and it’s just great. You’re never alone in the writing world.” This is true. Many writers look up to other writers, and with the technology of today, writers can now get in touch with their mentors whenever they want to. There’s not a guaranteed reply, because, of course, they may be busy, but just the feeling of being able to email or tweet to your favorite author is amazing. As many may know, when you walk into a bookstore or library, it’s divided up into genres, such as Fantasy, Non-Fiction, or Romance. Every writer has a certain genre that they love to write for. “I love Fantasy, but Science Fiction is also one of my favorites,” Elizabeth added in. She also mentioned some goals she has for her future in writing, “My goals are simple: get published, write a best-seller, and have a movie series based on said books. I want to write characters that people can relate to, and plots that have just enough twists and turns in them.” This is a wonderful goal. Writing is all about planning for the future. You have to be able to not just write characters, but see them; not just get published, but have people read the book; not just come up with a climax and resolution, but have your reader hung onto every word. The writing world is a game. Play it right, and you can have books flying off of your shelf by the second.
You may wonder what Elizabeth Zak is doing today. The answer is a job as an editorial assistant for Justine Magazine. “This is the first step to the rest of my life,” She explained, “…I’ve always loved writing, but this is one of the first times I’ve been able to write something that will be published and millions of people will see…I feel like this is a gateway to my success and future as an author.” Writing is all about small steps and then larger ones. Becoming published is like learning to walk when your a kid: one step in front of the other. Although Elizabeth is writing articles now, she mentioned that she still loves to write books. In fact, writing her articles gives her ideas for books, so it’s a win-win! I asked her about support, since writing is a grueling process for most people, and she was sure to give a big thanks to her mother, “My biggest supporter is my mom. She’s always been there for me and we’re just so close. She’s always willing to read what I write, and she’s one of the smartest people I know. I love her so much and I’m going to miss her when I go away to college.”
Are you a writer like Elizabeth Zak? According to her, anyone can be. So, if you don’t think you have any stories to tell, perhaps you should dig a little deeper. “…life is a story that you are writing every day. Everyone has a storyteller inside of them,” Elizabeth said. But, what else do you need to write a story? You may think that to write a story, all you need is a story to tell, but in all reality there are several other things within yourself that you need to write. “Imagination…Love…Courage,” Elizabeth recommended these few inner characteristics that you need to write stories. To have Imagination, love, and courage around you and within you, while writing a book, is to create something miraculous. Do you have any of these characteristics? Do you think you’re up to the challenge? Then, try it out! Need support? Well, you have two of your biggest supporters right here, Elizabeth Zak and myself, Jinapher Hoffman.
Today, the writers of this world have been creating stories that wow us. Surely, Elizabeth will make it to that point too. Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s social networks, which are linked at the bottom of this article. Thank-you for reading and Congratulations, Elizabeth Zak ,for becoming this month’s Featured Creative Mind!
Jinapher J. Hoffman
Justine Magazine: http://www.justinemagazine.com/
-Swiss Chalet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_Chalet
-Catholic Heart Work Camp: http://www.heartworkcamp.com/
-All of my links can be found under the Get Updated tab at the top of this page!