K.T. Lynn is an American Muslim living in Shanghai, China. She is a social media manager by day, and a novelist by night. Her hobbies include reading, scuba-diving, and traveling. She aims to promote cross-cultural understanding through her work, which has been featured in Toastmasters International Magazine, DIYMFA, SISTERS, Amaliah, Blue Abaya, Saudi Life, and Productive Muslim.
K.T. Lynn's first novel is based on her time in Saudi Arabia, and is set for publication in late 2019. She is currently writing her second novel.
You can read about her misadventures at www.ktlynn.com .
How My Writing Journey Began
I spent most of my childhood lost in a fictional playground. Stacks of library books were my companions. Children playmates didn't interest me. It seemed simple. If you want to become a writer, just write! And until my senior year of high school, it was.
During my last year of high school, a well-respected member of the high schools faculty accused me of plagiarism. Without proof, the principal and school board allowed him to drag my name through the mud. The punishment of receiving no credit for the writing assignment I sweated over was annoying, but tolerable. It was his reasoning for suspicion that crushed my dreams.
"You aren't smart enough to have written this well."
Instead of allowing the teacher to spread his assault on my intellect, I withdrew. Keeping my head down, I graduated with the sting of plagiarism unchallenged. In the fall I started university in a new state. It was just the fresh start I needed to let my creativity shine. During registration, advising upperclassman warned me not to register with Mrs. May.
"You don't want her as an English teacher. Not unless you want to stay up all night writing and rewriting your papers!" I registered for her English 101 class at eight A.M, determined to prove myself.
I toiled for days on our first assignment. After one last edit, I fell asleep. Unfortunately, I forgot to set my alarm. The next morning, I pressed print before throwing on some clothes, and running a brush through my tangles. After I collected the pages from the printer, I stomped on my shoes and ran all the way to the lecture hall, squeaking in at 7:59. When the stapler reached my desk, I fashioned the pages together with a click and passed my essay forward. Whew. I had made it.
That Friday, our papers arrived with comments and corrections. On mine, a note in red was scrawled in the top right corner.
"Be careful. D+. You had a B paper."
I had stapled the pages together in the wrong order. In her effort to teach me a lesson, Mrs. May killed the last bit of gumption I had. Several weeks later I withdrew from her class, and changed my major to environmental science. I figured I wasn't a writer after all. That was until, my writing found me.
Back to the Beginning
Six years later, I was working in Washington D.C. as a geographer and miserable. Seeking a way out, I came across an advertisement for a certificate in teaching English. I registered the next day. Two weeks after completing the course, I was on a plane to Saudi Arabia. I taught English and began to chronicle my experiences on a blog. Each comment, like, and interaction with the online community, my voice grew stronger. At this point I had been promoted into curriculum development. Armed with a large blog following and some freelance writing pieces, I applied for a technical writing position. Finally, I was a writer after years of denying my childhood dreams. But, that was only the beginning.
I spent the year as a technical writer forging relationships with the PR and marketing departments. Moonlighting as a journalist for the local newspaper, I continued to pad my portfolio with bylines. One day, I set a meeting with the lead editor of our PR department and simply asked.
"How do I become a writer?"
"Write more." He handed me a card.
"Tell them I sent you."
It was a PR firm needed freelancers. I started immediately. One by one, the jobs came. Paid or unpaid, I took them all. Some were smashing successes. Others were by in large failures. But, I kept going. Two years later, I was hired as a writer/editor. Now, I work in social media management and continue to freelance write and blog.
The three most important things I've learned from my journey as a writer:
Inspirations and Heroes
I'm always inspired by reading quality writing. The stories that snag your imagination and won't let go! Some of my favorite authors include Tana French, Dot Hutchison, Naguib Mahfouz, Ahmed Tawfik, Amy Tan, Tayari Jones, Khaled Hosseini, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I would love to meet Khaled Hosseini! Not only are his books heartbreakingly beautiful, but he uses his work to draw attention to social and political strife in a sensitive and poignant way. He is my writerspiration!
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.