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When Did I Become Interested in Writing?

Sometimes people ask me what sparked my interest in writing, or whether I was interested in writing before my English class with teacher Erin Gruwell?

As a child, I used to play by myself for four or five hours because I was very shy, introverted and had terrible self-esteem. Because of that, I always admired people who had a command of the English language. My high school English teacher, Erin Gruwell, certainly had a lot to do with getting me started down the road to writing. By encouraging me to journal regularly, she helped me see that I had a voice.

Then, when I attended U.C. Berkeley, one my classmates, Na’il Benjamin, was one of the most articulate, persuasive people I had ever met. When he spoke, people listened, and I wanted to have that kind of effect on people as well. 

There was also a Rhetoric professor, Dr. Marianne Constable, who inspired me a great deal to improve my writing. She chose words so carefully and thoughtfully, and used them so powerfully that she compelled me to take writing much more seriously.

Also, many of the books I read inspired me to write. They helped me see that good writing is a precursor to good speaking.

These days, I find it a lot harder to write in my journals as often as I would like because I am often writing papers for my PhD or writing books. Still, I recognize how important writing has been to my own healing and growth, so I try to write my more personal thoughts and experiences down in my journals when I have a little time away from the busy-ness of my life. 

Speaking of Writing, I have a new book coming out very soon. I'm excited about it's cover and its contents. I'll share more once the cover gets finalized.

-Manny