By immersing herself in stories of her own creation, Sarah Hughes finds solace in creative writing


Sarah Hughes

Sophomore Sarah Hughes peacefully writing while laying on the floor of her room

On the verge of death, one boy struggles for life after he was retrieved from the harsh ocean waters—the same boy that the main character has seen every night in his dreams. This premise is just one of the many plots that sophomore Sarah Hughes comes up with in her writing journals. 

“It’s a realistic fiction with a little twist in it,” said Sarah, explaining the premise of her current story. “This boy has been having dreams about another guy, and he doesn’t know who the guy is. But every single time, it’s the same boy in the dream; he always drowns, and the other boy doesn’t know why.”

With these exciting openings, Sarah is able to captivate her future readers and buttress her novels with complex backstories. The mysterious plot continues with a growing friendship between the two boys and revelations coming to light. 

“I haven’t gotten to this part yet,” Sarah said, “but the reason why the boy was always drowning and the other couldn’t save him was because this boy was afraid of water. He used to live on an island, and he moved to this other country because he was so scared of being on an island and not being able to escape.”

From realistic fiction to sci-fi adventures, each story flows from Sarah’s fingertips into the Cambria-typed font on her computer screen or her abundance of lined notebook pages. When the ideas for new universes form, it’s difficult to resist dropping everything and giving in to her favorite creative outlet. 

“Last night I had to fight the urge to not come up with a new storyline,” Sarah said. “Right now, I have six stories that are unfinished, and I don’t have room to write them in anything. I’ll just be laying there and an idea will pop into my head, and I’ll write it down. There are three that I’ve already been in the process of writing.”

These nightly composition endeavors started at the beginning of quarantine, and Sarah has continued to love the writing process. Having more time at home gave her the opportunity to further advance the length of her stories, ranging up to 35 chapters. 

While Sarah doesn’t necessarily wish to pursue a career as an author, she can’t imagine her life without writing. She hopes to one day share her stories for feedback, but would most likely do so with an unnamed identity.

“If I did [share my work] anonymously,” Sarah said, “[I could] gain an idea of what other people think of my work. I think it would be good to see what people like, what they enjoy, and what could be changed.”

For now, however, she is content—continuing to immerse herself in her own worlds, characters, and storylines where the chaotic moments are perfectly organized. Her stack of notebooks is overflowing with thrilling plot lines, and the ability to shape her own line of events is one of Sarah’s favorite aspects.

Writing is a way to express feelings you don’t really know you’re feeling.

— Sarah Hughes

“I am somebody who really likes to plan and have everything in control,” Sarah said. “I’ve found that when I start a story and don’t have any idea of what I want to do—what I want people to look like and just the general background for the story—I only get seven chapters in and stop. But when I started planning my stories, that was the first time that I had ever written a story [over] seven chapters long.”

Over the past few years, Sarah has taken special advantage of pencils, paper, and her keyboard to transform her imaginations into coherent stories. But, the final prolific product isn’t the only benefit from the hobby. Writing from another character’s perspective allows Sarah to look at life through a different lens.

“Traits, thoughts, and feelings that I have are shared with my characters,” Sarah said. “It makes it a little more personal for me. It’s also another way to put my life into perspective, take a step back, and look at myself from another angle; it’s a lot easier to do that from a made-up point of view where it’s more objective and not judgmental.”

In this way, writing can almost be a form of therapy to understand her growth over time. She’s excited to see the worlds that await her still and the storylines that continue to expand. For Sarah, writing will always serve as a favorite hobby for expressing emotions.

“Writing is a way to express feelings you don’t really know you’re feeling,” Sarah said. “When I write, I don’t really know what happens. Sometimes it’s very vague; I end up blurting a whole bunch of words onto the page. But when I go back and read it, it’s a ‘wow’ moment.”