Sun to Snow to Starting to Write

Hello all! Danielle here. I am a sophomore majoring in Philosophy and, of course, minoring in writing. A little bit about me: well, nothing brings me more happiness than sitting at a coffee shop with a friend sharing our favorite quotes, though I also simply love reading, writing, doing yoga, and, of course, long walks on the beach. (Yes, that was meant to make you smile, but—even more comically—I am actually being serious). Born and raised in California, I am new to all this cold, snow stuff. Growing up, I spent hours sprawled out in the sun, soaking up all that life-giving vitamin D. While I miss home, everyday I am truly happy to be here, surrounded by lovely people such as yourselves.

My friends, by the way, call me D. Surely it started as a way to shorten Danielle, but I like to think it’s because I provide the sunshine on all these cloudy Michigan days.

And, last week, on one of the types of dreary Michigan nights I am still adjusting to, I wrote the following about how I write:

Here I hunch, on the side of the street, scribbling disgruntled thoughts into my journal in below freezing, snowy weather. Admittedly, a substantial portion of my weekend was spent worrying. I spent the slow hours at work contemplating what to write for this first assignment. But now here I am: wind whipping my face, fingers turning too numb to finish my thought, yet anxiety finally easing. As soon as I stopped actively questioning, I approached on some answers.

So what did I realize about how I write? Well, to start, how I write, how I would like to think I write and, moreover, how I would like to actually write are overwhelmingly discrepant.

I had imagined myself telling tales of my careful writing process, detailing how I begin my first drafts and proceeding to proclaim how the rest of my process progresses, soundly, steadily. Now, this idea makes me laugh. My mind does not move when I call it to. Sitting and staring at a blank screen never gets me anywhere. Sometimes I have an idea immediately and other times it takes until the last minute, but regardless the work that I tend to be able to proudly put on paper come to me when I am simply living: walking home after a long day, sitting in a large lecture hall, and singing in the shower.

… Now, enjoy this awkward picture of me smelling one of the first flowers last spring:

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6 thoughts to “Sun to Snow to Starting to Write”

  1. Hey Danielle!
    Whenever you get your ideas to write about do you immediately stop what you’re doing & write them down somewhere? How do you make sure you don’t lose what could be a genius idea? I often find myself thinking of something to write in an easy, paper, etc. while I’m out & walking around, but I too often don’t stop to write the idea down, and unfortunately end up forgetting the ideas later.
    Something that stood out to me was that you said you go to coffee shops & share quotes with your friends. This sounds interesting. What did you mean by this? What kinds of quotes do you share?

    1. Absolutely. I always stop to write my ideas down, and if for whatever reason I do not have pen and paper on me, then I pull out my phone and type it into the notes section of my phone. Sometimes, if I am with others (since this process is not always socially acceptable or, rather, appropriate) then I will occasionally let the idea slip and just hope it comes back. As far as the coffee shop quote sharing goes, I mean exactly that. After reading a wonderful book—and sometimes even tandem reading a book with a friend, somewhat like a bookclub—we will find time to just go have tea/coffee and chat about the lines that particularly struck us. I read mainly fiction, so most of the quotes are fiction quotes either with particularly poignant prose or with wonderful words to live by.

  2. Hey Danielle,

    First off this was really funny haha, loved the walks on a beach line. Sorry that it’s so cold here. I’m from New York and still am not a very big fan of it.

    I thought your story about how you write was really interesting, but that sounded like a pretty brutal writing environment. I totally relate to the fact that you deal with serious cases of writing block and that your writing process isn’t a clean and neat process.

    How’d you end up at Michigan from California?

    1. Thank you! I ended up in Michigan because I fell in love with the University. When I was looking at colleges, I applied due to the esteem and prestige and all that stuff that I thought mattered so much at the time. While all of that is nice, I realized when I stepped on the campus that Michigan has so much more than that—is about so much more than that. I had the opportunity to visit after receiving my acceptance, and once I encountered some good ol’ midwest kindness there was no going back.

  3. Hi Danielle!
    Where in California are you from? My roommate’s from San Diego, and I have cousins in Los Angeles and San Jose. I took a trip out there one with my mum and brother, and we did the whole pacific coast highway thing. It was pretty amazing, although the highway was actually really scary. Do you live somewhere where you can be inspired by your scenery? It’d be nice to write about the beach or cliffs or mountains or whatever while you’re actually on a beach or cliff or mountain.

    What do you hope to do after school? Are you looking for a job that will allow you to combine the writing minor and your philosophy skills? You could write philosophical books! I would read them.

    1. I am from Moorpark, a suburb in between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in the lovely Ventura County. It is not too far from the beach, though I am more so surrounded by farmland, which I actually worked on for a while during high school. I am always inspired by the scenery in Moorpark, though especially in surrounding areas. If I drive about 10-15 minutes in any direction, I can be at the base of a decent sized mountain. I love to hike and over the summer spent far too many days trekking up trails, plopping down exhausted at the top to simply appreciate the scenery and be inspired. I miss it.

      After school I hope to either get a PhD in philosophy and go on to be a professor, go to law school, or work for a nonprofit. So I am not sure, but those are the options as of now. To be honest, I am not very good at long-term planning though, so we will see where life takes me I suppose! And hahaha if I ever write a philosophical book I will surely send it your way.

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