Writing For More Than A Decade With Alex Stad

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About Alex Stad

I am a twenty-two-year-old fourth-year university student in British Columbia, Canada, and creative writing has been a passion of mine for at least half of my life. I am currently pursuing English and History with the goal of becoming a secondary school teacher, with creative writing stemming from these interests and many other passions that I have! Poetry and prose both interest me, although my current efforts have gone to writing poetry. The stories I come across – both fictional and those of individuals I have the pleasure of knowing and admiring – inspire my writing alongside introspection as I continue to live and learn from the world around me.

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How And When Did You Get Started Writing?

If I remember correctly, my interest in creative writing began when I was 11 or 12. I began by writing prose fiction – based off of video games, like Halo, that I played around that time – with a long-term goal of eventually writing a novel. Storytelling – whether in books, movies, or video games – fascinated me and I wanted to tell stories of my own based on my imagination. I continued to revise and rethink my thoughts throughout the next few years, with novel-reading as a great asset to improving the quality of my writing. My greatest achievement, for prose writing, was a five-chapter story that I wrote in my final year of high school for a term-project. I later started to write poetry in my first year of university, which is an interest that has continued and developed into the present,

What Does Literary Success Look Like To You?

To me, success is based on personal goals that I set for myself. It can be as simple as sleeping at a certain time or as complex as finishing a project in increments over a week. The ability to achieve these goals is a sign of progress and growth and those individual metrics are what success looks like to me. This growth can vary from person-to-person, but that’s the most important factor: we are all different and success will be different from person-to-person, too. Dedication, persistence, and adapting after setbacks or failures are all important growing pains on this path to success.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Writers That They Can Apply Now On Their Journey As Budding Writers?

For creative writing, one of the best pieces of advice is to read and explore and be open-minded. Through reading, you can gain insight into how already-successful creators write on a mechanical level and gain a sense of how their writing works as well as it does. Through exploring, you can find new genres, authors, or stories that you may not have been interested in reading or watching. These new experiences may inspire your own ideas, which is a natural process of growing one’s imagination and ambitions. Through an open mind, this process of exploring the world can increase your empathy as both a reader and a writer, which are tools that you can use for your own writing and helping others with their writing, too.

What Are Common Traps For Aspiring Writers?

Some traps for an aspiring creator is to fixate on metrics like likes, follows, and other social media metrics over your development as a writer. Building up a following takes effort and dedication, but it should never be a detriment or a reason to write. Following a trend can work, but your own desires for your writing should come first as your passions are what will shine through your work first and foremost. “Writer’s block” and self-expectations are other common traps, and if you feel them, continue to write and know that a piece of writing is something that you can always put down and come back to with fresh eyes. Writing is something that can always be revised and improved on, so continue to find what works for you and your growth will show when you look back on your previous work.

If You Could Tell Your Younger Writing Self Anything, What Would It Be?

I would tell my younger self to write more than think! I have sometimes fixated on thinking of great thoughts without writing them down in a draft or as a note, which can cause ideas to become lost or, worse, for opportunities to write to pass. Inspiration can come in bursts but it is important to take advantage of such opportunities and make them productive. I would also tell my younger self – and my current self, too – to not doubt your talent. Even if you can do better, what you currently have does not need to be your best piece yet.

What Are Your Favorite Books? Fiction And/ Or Non-Fiction?

My favourite novel is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell! Its storytelling, setting, and my emotional response to its themes and characters have all resonated with me as a writer. Some other great reads that I have enjoyed include Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and, recently, Trumpet by Jackie Kay.

Anything you’d like to plug?

If anyone is interested, I have a currently-inactive website where I posted analytical, creative, and retrospective writings. I want to someday write there again but if you want to know more about me, I wrote a blog post on my experience as an Air Cadet in high school (the post is titled ‘The Greatest Journey’). Here is a link to that website: https://stadarooni.wordpress.com/.

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