I am a born storyteller. I penned my first book at the age of 4 (by dictating to my mom, because I couldn’t write yet). I won my first short story contest in second grade. In eighth grade, I successfully convinced my English teacher to let me write a novel during our daily silent sustained reading time. I wrote my first screenplay during my freshman year of high school and my first one-act play during my senior year. I tell stories. It’s what I’ve always done and it is everything that I feel I am called to do with my life.

Words are powerful. In many cultures, to name something is to become the master of that thing. In the Bible, Adam’s first task in subduing the creatures of the Earth is to give them names. In linguistics, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis argues that language creates our reality. Those with the ability to craft stories — to piece together letters into words and sentences — can literally change the world.

Writers have always been among humanity’s greatest thinkers. Writers can record history, criticize society and topple governments. The pen (or, in the 21st century, the keyboard) truly is mightier than the sword.

That’s what I love so much about writing — the ability to create lasting change. What better use can a person have for their brief time here than to leave the world a little more beautiful than it was before?

So, why do I spend so much time writing? The answer is simple: Because it comes as naturally to me as breathing. You could no more stop breathing than I could stop writing. As Walter Wellesley once said, “There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

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