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November 15, 2012

Writing contest inspires Blinn sophomore

Schulenburg student is chasing her dream to become a novelist

Stacie Brown

Stacie Brown had a serious case of writers’ block when it came to scripting out her life story.
She had maintained a daily journal since she was young, and even saw a poem published in the ninth grade, but at age 26 she was still struggling to find her path in life. She was passionate about writing, but it seemed real life was always getting in the way, and a steady stream of jobs filled the hours that could have been spent at a keyboard.

Even more importantly, no one she knew could point her in the right direction.

After graduating from Round Top-Carmine High School in 2003, Brown enrolled at Blinn College the following Spring. But soon, the demands of a full-time job forced her to drop of college.
Without a degree in hand, Brown bounced from one job to another, wiping runny noses at a child-care center, selling engagement rings at a jewelry store, answering phones as an administrative assistant and even cleaning up after horses, cows and goats as a laboratory animal technician.

She enrolled in online courses in 2007 to begin studying for a career in veterinary technology, but quickly saw that wouldn’t be her path. Three years later, pregnant with a son, Brown returned to Blinn as a child development major. But she again changed course, switching her major to information management.

“I was in limbo, just floating through life,” Brown said.

Like a character from one of her works in progress, she found inspiration through happenstance. While on Blinn’s Schulenburg campus for a midterm exam last Spring, she happened to notice the flyer for the College’s Emerging Writers Contest.

 “I thought, ‘Why am I not writing? Why am I not trying to get published?’” Brown said.
She submitted the opening chapters of a romance novel she had been working on titled “Suck it up, Buttercup,” and was surprised when she was awarded second place in the fiction division. Even better, she got personal feedback from guest judge Beth Wiseman, the best-selling author of 16 romance novels. Wiseman encouraged Brown to follow her passion and fulfill her potential.

“It’s nice to have that encouragement,” Brown said. “It made me want more of that, and it made me want to learn what I could do better.”

Brown started by creating a blog at Wiseman’s suggestion, and her site has already won a pair of awards from fellow bloggers. During the summer, she attended a fiction writing workshop hosted by Wiseman and is currently at work on two novels.

“I’ve always been fickle because I’ve never been sure of what I wanted,” Brown said. “Now I’m sure. I want to show people that I am serious and that’s why I’m reading as much as I can about writing, publishing and even marketing.”

She expects to graduate this Spring with an associate’s degree in information management, then plans to work toward a bachelor’s degree.

“Stacie has taken her writing far beyond our contest and doing something with it,” said English Professor Audrey Wick, who organized the contest and is teaching Brown’s composition and rhetoric class this semester. “As an instructor, when I see a student pursuing a passion, that is success for me. She’s a wonderful example to our students to see that you can make the most of the resources we have on any Blinn campus and use them to fulfill your goals and your passions.”

Blinn will host its second annual Emerging Writers Contest this Spring.

Blinn’s Schulenburg campus offers a variety of academic transfer, workforce training and continuing education classes to fit the needs of any student. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/schulenburg or call 979-743-5200.

PHOTO – Blinn College English Professor Audrey Wick (left) organized the College’s Emerging Writers Contest to encourage students such as sophomore Stacie Brown (right) to follow their passion for writing. Since placing second in the contest’s fiction division, Brown has begun work on two novels, attended a writing workshop and started an award-winning blog.