Saturday, October 31, 2009

Interview with Amazing Young Nonfiction Writer Allie Sakowicz

Allie Sakowicz is proof that you are never too young to make your dreams come true. At just fifteen years old, she has written more than 30 articles for print magazines such as Odyssey Magazine and Chicago Parent as well as several in online publications including True Genius Magazine and Scrubs Magazine. She is also a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps, and as such her assignments have included attending a rally for former Presidential candidate John McCain, and President Barack Obama’s Election Night and Super Tuesday Election Night parties. Wow! Her website is

Read on for Allie's tips about how YOU can tap into your interests to make a career as a writer at any age!

How did you get your first piece published?

My first piece was actually a book review of Because of Winn-Dixie in the Chicago Tribune when I was 10. There was a general call for submissions and, being a huge fan of the Kate DiCamillo book, I submitted a review. I never expected to see it printed several months later! As for my first "real" article, the story went a bit differently. The author of the Angelina Ballerina series of books, Katherine Holabird, was making visit in my community and I was able to attend and take a picture with her. My family encouraged me to write an article about the experience and submit it to a local parenting magazine, who accepted it. It's certainly not always that easy, but I was lucky that the right opportunity came along at the right time and started my writing career.

How did you become interested in writing?

As long as I can remember, I've loved to write. Even now, I would prefer to write an essay on something than do an art project or something else any day. I wish I could tell you more, but I really can't. Writing has just always been there as a big part of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What is your writing routine like? How do you find time in your busy schedule to write?

Being a full-time student makes it extremely difficult to find time to write, especially since I am involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. However, I believe that we always make time to do what we love, and writing is something that I love. Whenever I feel inspired, I will jot down a few words on an article or make a note about something I want to include. I am passionate about writing non-fiction because I love helping people gain knowledge on a certain topic. There is nothing better to me than getting an email saying that I inspired someone through my work. That is what keeps me going, and that is why I am in my room typing while my friends are at the pool, or why I am at the library researching on a 90-degree day. It's all about priorities.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the trials of the writing life, such as writer's block and rejection?

I realize that they are things that happen to each and every author at some point and try to work around them. As a non-fiction writer, I think I struggle with writer's block a whole lot less than others, but it still does occur. What I do when it does happen is find some new sources about my topic and do more research. Usually when I do this, I will come across new information I was not already aware of, and that opens up many more doors with the article. As for rejection, I'm not going to lie: it hurts. I have had many cases where it seems like an editor is very interested in my work, only to get a standard form rejection a month later. But, I just pick up the pieces and move on. Rejection is bound to happen in this business, and most of the time it is not because of the author's work, it is just an editor's preference. The one important thing to remember is to never give up. The right opportunity will come and you have to keep persevering to find it.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I read a huge variety of books, so I have favorite authors in every category. One of my favorite books, Shiver, was written by my friend Maggie Stiefvater and is a must-read. I also enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Meg Cabot and John Grogan. As for non-fiction, I love reading medical books because I am a huge dork.

What is your biggest advice to other young writers?

I think that it is very important for kids to never give up on their dreams and goals just because of their age. It's difficult to be taken seriously sometimes in this industry, and the only way to get around that is to act serious. That means doing your research and writing quality articles or manuscripts.

What are you working on now? What's next for Allie Sakowicz?

I'm on a little bit of a hiatus from writing right now to focus on school, but I still have a few pieces in the works. I've begun to center in on articles about medicine, which is what I'm really interested in. I'm not really sure what the future of my writing career is, but I am having so much fun right now and can't wait to see what happens next.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Feel free to email me at if I can every help! I'm more than happy to offer advice or guidance to help get you where you want to be.

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