• 2016 - Hayley Zablotsky
  • 2015 - Nick Barnette
  • 2014 - Aubrey Fineout
  • 2013 - Allana Wooley
  • 2012 - Nickie Ann Vogt
  • 2011 - Bill Hamlett
  • 2010 - Travis Freeman
  • 2009 - Kelli Trapnell
2013 Scholarship Recipient Allana Wooley

Allana Wooley
Junior Allana Wooley is a 4.0 writing and anthropology double major with a minor in Spanish and currently holds a Deans Scholarship. She is a Resident Assistant, serves on the staff for the eleven40seven literary publication, and volunteers for Read2Win, a bilingual reading program for young children.

Allana’s Story

I had an acquaintance tell me, after it came out that I had been selected as the ELF recipient, “You know, you will probably never get paid as much for any thing you write ever again.” Unless I become the next J.K. Rowling (fingers crossed!), this is probably true.

I love being the fifth recipient of the ELF scholarship award; it is both an awesome validation of my teensy little nugget of talent and an encouragement as I continue my journey as a writer. I have been awarded a scholarship I can’t possibly match or repay in any way other than by continuing to write. I was awarded this scholarship because somebody saw potential in my portfolio and in my future. There is nowhere to go from here but forward, which is precisely what I plan on doing.

The monetary aspect of the ELF award is tremendous — in terms of what it means for my stress level, my post-college options, and how much sleep my parents get at night. However, I maintain that the best part about the ELF, for me, was the process that led up to my portfolio submission. Having a deadline and a goal to work toward got me into the habit of consistent, constant and persistent writing such that I had never done before. The day-to-day, write-it-all-down mindset has made my writing so much better and my ideas far more creative. I now get new story ideas so often the little journals I carry are quickly filling up, and I have no clue when, or if, I will be able to revisit everything.

Developing a Critical Eye

Never before had I thought so intensely about the stories I wrote. Fun and personal enjoyment had previously served as motivators, but when the ELF came up I began to write with a critical eye. I wasn’t going to be the only person reading the stories, so I had to make sure I did my best to translate them from my imagination to the page. This was vital to my journey as a writer, because I was thinking of the reader. Doing so has made me an infinitely better communicator.

The funny thing? I think I am a much better writer now than when I turned in my portfolio. But that’s the beauty of writing — it morphs, changes and, hopefully, improves. Doing the ELF connected me with a community of writers at TCU, which was an awesome platform to engage in conversation about writing and art. That alone has been invaluable, because I know I’m not alone. Writing can be a lonely proposition. Winning the ELF has been — and is — invaluable.

The existence of the ELF is the biggest thing, because it gave me an excuse to write and improve and receive feedback. That a successful writer believes in the new generation of literary scribes is encouraging. Sandra and Michael Brown have changed my life and enabled a dream deemed impractical by culture today. To do the scholarship justice, to do Sandra and Michael Brown justice, I will work on my teensy little nugget like crazy.

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