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Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) student Emily Rodriguez is a sophomore, majoring in technical and professional writing with a minor in digital film production. Since she was 10 years old, Rodriguez has had a passion for writing and has always created her own stories using her imagination. Her fondness for writing has led her to self-publish her own book, Princess Mythos, the first of a series of seven books from the What If Chronicles: Mythos series that she is planning.

Despite the novel Princess Mythos being completed in 2019, Rodriguez said it took some time to get out due to the difficulty of finding a publisher that would pay her. “It is so hard to write a novel, you don’t even know! I wanted to get paid for my work,” said Rodriguez. After a long time searching, one day her father suggested she self-publish on Amazon, which is exactly what she did and now the novel is available on the site.

However, before she even started writing Princess Mythos, the idea for the novel was sparked by a flash of inspiration. The world is full of stories that inspire Rodriguez. She is able to create a story from multiple things she encounters, including friends, shows on TV, and even random incidents in her life. For example, in Princess Mythos, she was inspired by three simple things that gave her the idea to create a new world. “The book literally was inspired by 3 things. One was the ZDT Amusement Park, the second was an idea of a random guy who drops out of the ceiling and says ‘Hi you are a princess’, and lastly, I had a thought while at the pool. What if there were multiple layers within the pool with creatures swimming in them with pockets of air in between?,” Rodriguez said. With this, she got to work and created a world of her own. Rodriguez is living proof that even the simplest of thoughts can inspire someone to write a story and in her case, a whole book!

Although Rodriguez is already an accomplished writer at such a young age, one would think that writing for her was an easy task but Rodriguez admits that it still takes a lengthy amount of time to put a novel together. “Writing is a process… it’s a puzzle and sometimes you don’t have all of the pieces. It takes time to find them,” Rodriguez states. Rodriguez has to figure out how to place all the small details and characteristics together into a coherent whole. When all these elements are in place, she still has to go back and edit, which is also a necessary piece to finalize the puzzle. She notes that even when the editing process comes to a close, “you will never be satisfied. I look back and think, “Why did I write that? How did I miss that?” While this mindset may be taxing, it simply proves that Emily cares about her work and is well aware that being a writer involves a lot of learning and self-improvement.  

While self-awareness is one of the things that makes her humble, being humble with her writing is not one of the things that keep her from sharing it. She is confident enough in her work to want to bestow it with the world.  “If you are too timid, too shy or too scared to approach (sharing your work)  it’s not going to go anywhere. If you’re lucky you may be a future author where no one finds your work until you die,” Rodriguez said. Thus, having the right amount of pride and confidence in a person’s work will prove useful in the future when they are finally ready to put it out into the world. They must have the confidence and the security to declare that their work is part of themselves and it is how they show their creativity and originality. It is not always the placing of one’s work in the world that is the hardest part; often, it is starting from scratch that is the toughest. Rodriguez understands the struggle and from her experience, she states, “If you choose to write, you have to be sure you want to write and you have to keep trying. Even if there are moments when you want to quit, you have to push through it and give it a shot. At the end of the day, you will only be as good of a writer as you practice.” She hopes this piece of advice will help aspiring writers at OLLU realize that in order to become a writer, you must write.

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