By C. Aileen Blaine
Freshman chemical engineering major Savannah Allen is more than just a student at Youngstown State University. She’s also the author of three published books, with plans for many more.
“Honestly, I’ve always been a writer,” she said.
Allen published her first book, a novel titled “106 Days Before,” when she was just 16 years old. The plot follows the story of a girl diagnosed with cancer, and explores the protagonist’s emotional ups and downs as well as those of the people in her life. Allen’s two most recent publications are two poetry anthologies, titled “Feel” and “Going Under.”
After graduating from high school a year early, she started college right away because she hoped to tackle the challenge of coursework and writing while meeting new people along the way.
Although Allen said she finds it hard to pinpoint the exact moment when she knew she wanted to pursue her passion for writing, she credits her seventh grade language arts class as an inspiration.
“We had an assignment, like a short story, but mine ended up being 13 pages long,” she said. The story would become the basis for her first book.
When it comes to inspiration for her work, she derives it from a variety of sources. Song lyrics, quotes and social media platforms all serve as idea-generators.
“My inspiration, it doesn’t come from just one thing,” she said. “I could hear a lyric in a song and relate to that. I follow a lot of quote pages on Instagram and I get a lot of ideas from quotes.”
With criticism around every corner, it might be hard to please everyone in the literary world, but for Allen, many of her challenges come in the form of her self-doubt. Even so, she holds on to her optimism and doesn’t let criticism discourage her. Instead, she uses it to grow as a writer.
“I kind of just take whatever criticism I’m given, and it inspires me to keep writing,” she said. “I’m still young and I can still improve my writing, so I pretty much use the negative criticism as fuel to become a better writer.”
When it comes to her future as a writer, Allen said she hopes to pursue her passion as long as she can.
“I plan to publish books pretty much every year until I can’t write anymore,” she said. “I’m hoping to have a really, really long writing career.”
In addition to a prolific fiction and poetry output, she also hopes to someday publish an academic paper related to her chemical engineering major.
A writer’s path to success is not always easy, but Allen offers advice for those who might be interested.
“Don’t give up on writing a book,” she said. “I gave up on several book ideas before I finally finished my first book. It’s a lot of work — it really is — and it’s time-consuming and you want to cry a lot of times, but you get a feeling of accomplishment once you’re done.”