How I Started Loving the Written Word by ShuRin Greenwood

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ShuRin Greenwod

ShuRin Greenwood

If I ever get asked how my love for writing started, my answer would right away be “because I started reading regularly at a very young age, and things started to build from there”.

You see, my mother grew up in an era where education wasn’t seen as a priority. Back then, going to school wasn’t compulsory, and it wasn’t out of the ordinary for children to quit school before the age of 10. My mother was one of those who continued to study even though hardly anyone around her did. We lived in Asia. Back then, English wasn’t something the everyday person on the street knew – it was, in some ways, for the upper echelons of society. However, after our country gained independence, English suddenly became the main language. For many, the adjustment was difficult. For my mother, it wasn’t that difficult because she (fortunately), went to an English-speaking school.

So, she saw how quickly the country and world moved toward being English-speaking, and how life would be difficult without a good grasp of the language. So when she had kids, she promised herself that she would read to us every night – she felt that reading was the best way to learn and in her words, “inculcate a good command of English”. For context, 30 to 40 years ago, this practice of “bedtime stories” was not common at all in my country.

Oh, I loved the bedtime story sessions. From the wonderful adventures and magical worlds created by Enid Blyton to the quirky stories by Roald Dahl and more educational books like the Guinness Book of World Records, I read them all. My mother was usually so tired after work that she’d drift off to sleep after reading a few pages. And that was when I started to pick up the books myself to read. It was really, a fast way to learn – I still remember the feeling of absorbing the words like a sponge. I miss being young!

Fast forward a few years, when I started primary school, I did really well in English. I remember always being proud about being top in class for the subject. I was particularly strong at writing compositions, and I loved writing – homework was never a chore, and my teachers would often print my compositions as “model essays” for my fellow students. Having my work published was an amazing feeling!

I did encounter a few twists and turns in life that caused my dream to become a professional writer to go slightly off-track. I won’t bore you with details, but I encountered numerous rejections because I had “no professional writing experience”. That understandably was demoralising, but I started to try to build a portfolio for myself, to get that “experience” people wanted so much. I emailed many small companies asking for opportunities (even unpaid ones). The things in the universe did start to fall in place for me. To my joy, quite a few came back to me, and even offered to pay for my services!

A few years later, I met someone who would later be my boss and mentor. She took me under her wing when I had zero professional experience as a writer and editor, and nurtured me into who I am today. I’ve spread my wings now, and am no longer working for her. But we do talk sometimes, and she mentioned that she reminded me of her. She spoke about the “fire” she saw in my eyes, and the things I did to try to reach my dreams. I reminded her of herself, when she too was a little fledging writer, she said.

FeatherToday, I’m happy to call writing my job – I’m a full-time copywriter and when I’m not at my day job, I’m also writing. I’m working on a short story about parallel universes and the law of karma that I hope will see the light of the day someday. I have also set up a small boutique copywriting agency in Singapore called TheFeather, so that I can one day do what I love for myself, free from the shackles of corporate life. Cheers to the dream life of a writer!

(c) ShuRin Greenwood

About the author

ShuRin Greenwood is a professional copywriter by day, and avid reader and passionate storyteller by night – she’s all about the written word. Based in Singapore, she aspires to be one of the country’s first fiction writers to achieve international recognition!

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