Alison Hicks: Journey of Words

There's no one way or path to becoming a full-time writer, except for one pervasive element: perseverance.

From budding author...

Meet Alison Hicks, a Philly author and creative writing teacher and mentor. Alison boasts two collections of poetry, the latest of which--You Who Took the Boat Out--was published in 2017 by Unsolicited Press. A vast collection of her individual pieces have homes in literary magazines such as Apiary, The Louisville Review, and Broad River Review, to name a few. Now Alison finds herself as the founder and director of the Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which seeks to aid writers in creating, reviewing, editing, and revising their own creative material.

Ever since Alison was a child, she wanted to be a writer. She describes to us growing up in a, “literary home”, and her fate felt like a kind of inevitability-- something, “you can try to walk away [from], but you’ll probably return [to].” Although, Alison never considers any one precise moment in time where she was certain of her future career. She tells us, “there’s no test you can take that will tell you that you’re a writer. Writing is simply a process of improvement over time.”

There was a tumultuous period after Alison graduated in which she was unsure of which direction to head in next. It wasn’t until six years later, after a stint as a magazine intern, that Alison decided on pursuing graduate studies. Though Alison had a focus in fiction at the University of Arizona for her MFA, she’s since shifted gears to focus on poetry. A surprising turn, considering Alison never before thought of herself as a poet. Yet it’s the mystery of poetry that keeps calling Alison back. mentor for budding authors.

Attending workshops like the ones Alison hosts takes a lot of courage, but the payout is a rewarding aspect to her job: “it’s wonderful to hear what talent comes out of these people in workshop. The goal of workshop, in the end, is for people to go home feeling fired up about writing.” And the benefits don’t stop there; many who’ve studied and workshopped under Alison are published authors in their own right, or are on their way to becoming published writers.

The path of a writer is one not often traveled, and for compelling reasons. Many simply do not have what it takes to make a living through their writing. Having been there, done that, and come out alive on the other side, Alison has advice to those seeking to do as she has done. In a word, persevere: “just have a willingness to keep going and going. It takes a lot to understand what your vision is about. But if you take the time to enjoy the experimentation and play with your work, you’ll see the results.”

Alison decided on FactSumo’s Sheet Music Reading deck, because she feels it’s important that aspiring (and current) artists flex their other creative muscles.