If you were to ask my mom what I could normally be found doing when I was a child, her response would be automatic: reading or writing. In fact, if you wanted she could even pull out her shoebox of relics from my childhood and offer you up dozens of stories that date back to toddler times. You don’t want to see that—I promise you. But they’re there, resting as proof of my early fascination with words. This fascination came naturally to me.
I’m not sure what it was about writing that made me feel so alive. Everything about it felt right and real. Although I would create worlds and people that didn’t exist, the characters felt like people I knew and the places felt like places I’d been. As I grew, so did my love for writing. I wrote everything imaginable. I wrote short stories, poetry, song lyrics, scripts, and I even finished my first full-length novel by the time I was in high school.
It didn’t take me long in high school to realize that no one could help me get published except myself. Teachers didn’t know how to help an aspiring novelist and neither did guidance counselors. I quickly began to understand that the odds of becoming successful in the writing world were equal if not worse than the odds of becoming a successful actress. Since then I’ve had two poems and two short stories published. I also wrote hundreds of poems, dozens of short stories, and four novels that all live in notebooks and my MacBook.
The writing industry is not for the faint of heart. I might have given up—after all, I am now 25 and my younger self was convinced I’d be “J.K. Rowling successful” by this point in my life—but after a particularly disappointing onslaught of rejection letters I was browsing my university library and found Stephen King’s On Writing. I went home and read it in a single night and my determination was renewed.
Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things that elude you. When this happens, you have two choices. You can give up, or you can reevaluate your approach and try to find a new way to reach your goal. It was in this frame of mind that I was given an opportunity to become a member of the writing community again for the first time since graduating college in 2014. I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my writing career as an editorial intern with Sundress Academy for the Arts. I hope that being able to work on the other side of the writing community will give me a deeper understanding of the publishing process, and that I will be able to apply the knowledge and experience I gain here to my writing career.
Sam Campbell lives for four things: writing, learning, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. She graduated in 2014 from East Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in both Psychology and History. She went on to earn a Master of Education in Educational Media and Technology from ETSU in 2017. She is currently teaching Honors English II and Advanced Placement Psychology at Seymour High School. While she adores her job, writing is and always will be her passion. Her fiction has appeared in Unto These Hills and The Mockingbird. Her poetry has appeared in Pine Tree Poetry and The Claiborne Progress.