One Year of Feather Pen: How It All Began

One Year of Feather Pen: How It All Began

When people tell you what you need to do, it sounds so simple. You do your A-Levels, go to university, do some work experience, internships and get a job. If only it was that simple.

It was nearly the end of my second year at university, as an English with Creative Writing student. I kept saying I was going to do an internship during the summer. It was nearly summer, and all I got was countless rejection emails or no response at all.

Not qualified.

What is qualified?

One of the applications asked me for a link to my work, which I didn’t have. By the time, I also realised my mistake of not getting involved much with university’s publications, as well. Too late at that point. Then, I started thinking about all the other people who don’t have that link. There are so many of us, and most of these traditional or online publications look for ‘the best’ or the best that fits their aesthetic or some kind or criteria of ‘the best’. Most of the time they don’t even explain why you’re not the one, you’re just not. And then you think, ‘if I’m not the best, am I even good?’

You just need to keep trying.

At university, I had a short WordPress workshop. With the knowledge I got from there, I decided to make that link for myself and maybe for others. Help them have that link, have them make that work better, put my education into good use and practice some skills so that maybe next time, I can be ‘qualified’. Though I must admit, I’m still not sure what they mean by ‘qualified’.

Through the end of May 2019, I came up with the idea of a Creative Writing blog that welcomes all types of writing and writers from all backgrounds. Not just a safe space but welcoming space, a helping hand. It would have three monthly sections; fiction, poetry and lifestyle. Short stories, poems, articles, reviews, travel blogs, personal blogs, anything that needs to be shared. A space ready to welcome and accept and evolve. That was what I needed from other publications, and if I needed this, there would be many others who needed this.

1 June 2019, the blog went live. For about 4 months, I mostly had my work on the blog, until I found a way to reach the others in need. I used social media, but it was hard to reach to people who actually were looking for a space like this. Meanwhile, posting only once a month made the blog seem too quiet and I didn’t have material for posting more. My dear friend Catarina Grangeon was preparing for her year abroad, and when I was speaking to her, I had a light bulb moment. That became the birth of a new column other than the monthly posts of fiction, poetry and lifestyle, SeaSalt Chronicles. A travel column about Catarina’s experiences of a year abroad in California.

When my final year at university started, I knew there were many students around who were like me and I needed to find a way to reach them. I e-mailed my faculty, School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. I’m eternally grateful that they answered and shared my call for mutual help. Soon after they spread the word, I started receiving submissions that filled the schedule for months ahead. It was a joy getting to read the words of these newly emerging writers who wanted their voices to be heard, discussing their worlds and how to make them even more fascinating. People as passionate about writing as I am. The more writers joined on board, both from university and outside, as well as the more readers we started having exploring our worlds, the more meaning Feather Pen earned for me. It felt like a carnival celebrating the diversity of writing. Above all, it feels like a child to me. Am I exaggerating? Maybe but that’s how I feel, and that’s what this blog is all about. Welcoming everyone’s thoughts and feelings that don’t hurt anybody but are trying to break the borders of a page.

1 June 2020 marks the first anniversary of Feather Pen. Today, I don’t only have that link or these skills that came with it. Nearly 50 posts, (with the submissions that haven’t been published) around 20 writers, about 300 views a month and readers from many countries. I am so grateful for all of you, our writers and readers for being with us on this journey. I can’t wait to read, write and share more stories of you, me and many more writers yet to join us, and grow with you. I am so proud of all of us.

Happy birthday, Feather Pen.

©  photo from Unsplash

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