"How did you get into writing?"

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked, “How did you get into writing?” I don’t think everyone who asks that question is prepared for the real, philosophical, drawn-out answer that includes experiences too personal to be included in a casual conversation.

My go-to reply is: “I started writing poetry in the 6th grade. It starts with me wanting to write music, but then I realized that I like the raw words more.” I have this canned response because how does one work into a casual conversation, that writing, to me, feels like praying? To give the real genuine answer would take a sit-down for at least an hour or two to provide you with how writing saved my life in more ways than I can count. Writing has been my therapy during times of trauma. It has been my crutch when I was broken -- my air when life felt suffocating. I got started writing because I wanted to give the brilliant voice in my head a place to be free, even when I felt like I was in bondage.

I got into writing because within words, I can be as free and as infinite as space. Just like how it is in outer space, writing allows me to decorate emptiness with stars, some shooting, some shining in stillness, and planets full of mystery and wonder, using the uniqueness of each piece I would write to complement the next, until I found myself curating a galaxy of poems, stories, and songs.

I always felt that if creating a world for people to inhabit and get lost within makes you a God, then writers know, to some small extent, what that feels like. Maybe I started writing because I wanted to create a world that was better than the one I was living in. Perhaps I continue to write to create a world better than the one I’m currently living in.

I used to get insecure when people would ask me this question because I felt like there was a particular route I had to take as a writer if I was ever to be considered a professional or “good” writer. I soon realized that when people ask that question, it’s an opportunity for me to show them the higher powers that are at work when it comes to creativity. It’s bigger than being sat in front of a piano at 4 years old and being told to play. It’s more than putting a pen in a young man’s hand and telling him to write. There’s almost always a spiritual dialogue taking place between the individual and the craft. Writing is less about me putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard; it’s about the intrinsic conversation between the words, the readers, and my spirit.

To my writers and creatives out there who were divinely introduced to their crafts, don’t feel pressured to give the elaborate answers to everyone who asks, “How did you get into (insert craft)?” But keep in mind that you’re not alone in the community artists who feel a special feeling when they’re doing what they love. Try your best to share your stories with other creatives and keep the true stories of how we land in the spaces that we fall in authentic and genuine.

Keep writing.