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The minute I started school I adored writing. The thing my Mam would always hear at a parent teacher meeting was that I was chatty and easily distracted but very good at creative writing. I always much preferred homework that involved reading or writing creatively to stuff like colouring or arts and crafts. It became clear pretty early on that I was talented at writing, although if you told me at that age that I would become a writer, I would have scoffed.
As I grew up, I began to get into keeping journals. At first they used to be quite unorganised and random accounts of my day but as I got older, my journals got more serious. The first time I admitted that I liked boys at age 11 was in a diary. But because I was young and indecisive, I could only really keep them for weeks at a time.
In secondary school, I became further interested in writing. I used English class as an opportunity to be as creative as possible, often writing wildly outrageous stories. They weren’t particularly good, but they were definitely creative.
Then when I turned 15, I began to keep a different sort of journal. I suppose I was writing articles in a way. I would write accounts of specific events or musings that I thought interesting, not unsimilar to the articles I write now for my blog. Over time, I got better and better at writing these little articles and eventually I had a considerable number of notebooks full of them. I kept them in a little safe that I had hidden in my room. I was fiercely protective of these private thoughts.
At age 15 I also began writing a young adult novel. I’d say I wrote about half of the book before I stopped completely. I still have that document on my computer and I hope to return to it some day. Writing that was quite a significant experience for me because it was the first time I properly considered becoming a writer.
After I had built up a large collection of these essays in my journals, I decided to get a blog. I bought a domain on WordPress and began sharing these articles, keeping them secret from the people around me. I really enjoyed sharing these articles to the wider world even though some of them were quite personal. I think I was beginning to realise a lot of things and although I was comfortable with the wider world seeing them, I wasn’t ready for teenagers around me to.
I was in a very bitchy, gossipy school and and although I could bitch and gossip like the rest of them, I was unwilling to allow those people into my private thoughts. But, as often happens with stuff like this, the website got out. Suddenly my views shot up and I was quite confused. Until I went into school and noticed certain people acting strangely towards me.
I was mainly writing about an unrequited love I had with someone who was also in my school which made it quite awkward when people found it. I mean it was always a possibility in my head that people would one day find it, but I suppose I never really expected it to happen.
As I’ve said, I had a lot of respect in school so nobody was particularly cruel, to my face. But just knowing that people had read these thoughts was really tough for me. I disabled the blog and went back to confiding my thoughts to my journals alone.
It was around this time that I had to decide what I was going to do in college. Since I had such a love for writing, I decided that journalism would be a good road for me to go down. I got the required points and I got into a journalism course in Dublin Institute of Technology. When I was fully settled into my course, I began writing for a current affairs website named HamburgersnHeroin.com. I immensely enjoyed writing current affairs articles and I still write for it to this day.
In January of 2016, I began writing a book named “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen.” It was a collection of different essays about my life and my experiences. I finished and published it that March and I was shocked by that reaction. I was invited to speak about it on the radio, on TV and in magazines. I still can’t quite believe that I wrote and published a book at 18 years of age or that people were actually interested in my story.
After publishing the book, I thought that I would be done, but I wasn’t. I realised that I still had a lot to say and I set up another blog LaylahTalks.com. I was really surprised when I set up the blog because it was something I had never really seen myself doing but I’ve loved writing for my website ever since. The way it’s grown has really surprised me in an but I’m so proud of everything I’m doing for that website, including these videos.
In September of 2016, I published another collection of essays that had been on my blog and some unseen ones too. It was entitled “Just Saying” and I’m so proud of that book too. I actually think I found my voice even more when writing this book.
Since then, I’m still writing away on LaylahTalks.com and for a few different publications. My third collection of essays “Stay Wild” will be published soon and I’m almost finished my first fiction novel that’s loosely based on my teenage years.
I actually don’t think I was particularly born to be a writer but I think the direction that my life took and the experiences that I went through were what made me follow this career path. Who knows where my writing will go in the future? I certainly couldn’t have predicted the path that i would take up until now. But I intend to continue to write for as long as it satisfies me.