Zorgie Sanchez, senior in English with a minor in African American studies, loves literature, ethnic studies, writing, and the Blackhawks. Writing tutor since 2013, she began writing her novella, The Poet’s Guide to Heartbreakin May of 2015. Read more about her writing journey here:

I began writing in the summer of 2013, not long after finishing my sophomore year of college. I found myself inspired by works I had read, and found that other people’s words just weren’t cutting it anymore. I had stories within me, and even though my writing was not at its prime, I needed to write. So I did. I wrote every day, hours at a time. It didn’t matter what I was writing, all that mattered to me was that I was –that I was finally doing something that had a purpose. 

I never considered myself a writer, nor did I ever imagine that others would read my work. I found that my writing was something that wasn’t good enough to share, that it was something that people would mock me for doing. After all, I wasn’t writing anything academic or prestigious, nothing that would sell millions of copies. But I wanted feedback, for someone other than me to read my work. So under a pen name, I began publishing story after story on a writing website, and as time passed I began gaining fans. I began to see my work affecting others, changing their perspectives, soothing their souls. It was humbling to say the least, to be able to create something that could impact someone’s life even in the most minor way —to see that something that I kept hidden was good enough to receive awards, to gain a fan base, to hit hundreds of thousands of viewsIt still is. But nothing was more humbling than breaking the news to my friends and family that I was releasing my first novella.

My first self-published novella, The Poet’s Guide to Heartbreak, was inspired by my best friend. As a writer, the only way I have learned how to comfort is to write a note, a letter, or in her case, a short story. This story in particular started out as a way to mend my best friend’s heart back together, to say the words I couldn’t quite articulate to her without being redundant or cliché. What it ended up being was a chronicle of losing oneself and finding your way back.

Going about publishing this novella was not an easy choice. I wrote it within three weeks and had published it under my pen name on the website upon which I have all my works. But I was conflicted with the choice of actually making it into a legitimate novel. The first thing that concerned me was the length, seeing as it is a short work. The second was the money, which with being a college student you can assume I have none.

I came across free self-publishing on both Amazon and Nook and decided that if I was going to do this, I would do it on my own. But without having any money to invest, that would mean that I would have to be my own editor, graphic artist, and promoter. So you could say this little novella became an extension of myself, seeing as I had to overlook every single aspect of its creation from start to finish.

If you consider your writing an extension of yourself, it can be incredibly difficult to get over the fear of sharing your work. I know that was the case with me. But in the end, what you’ve experienced, what you’ve felt, what you’ve written, will more times than not resonate with at least one person. Do not look to change the world with your writing; do not strive to sell millions of copies, or become the next Jane Austen or Stephen King. Do your own work justice. Do not compare it with anyone else’s. What you create is an extension of yourself, and that in and of itself is good enough to share with the world. Write for yourself. In the end, all that matters is that the stories within you are told.

Zorgie Sanchez