Alumnus explores creativity through published writing
Since graduation, one thing has led to another for writer Toussaint Egan, AU ’13. His interest in the feature-oriented website Mental Floss, landed him an opportunity to write for its blog which in turn led to a contributing editor position with the art curation website AwesomeRobo. That first writing opportunity with Mental Floss had some AU touches, including advice he received from his former professor and experiences at the university that helped fine tune his writing.
Upon graduation, Egan challenged himself to become a published writer. As a frequent reader of Mental Floss, he came across the opportunity to write for its college interest section.
“I had known about Mental Floss College Weekend for two years and knew I really wanted to contribute to it,” Egan said. “Part of my process in becoming a published writer was making a list of publications I wanted to be in within the next five years, and Mental Floss was on it. I saw this as an opportunity to get my foot in the door to paid published writing.”
To prepare for his blog proposal, Egan brainstormed eight story ideas. Then, after seeking the opinions of his classmates and personal network on Facebook, he narrowed his topics down to three and sent them to his longtime mentor Brigitte Barclay, Associate Professor of English, for her advice. She helped position his ideas so they would appeal to the publisher.
A week after he submitted his proposal to the publisher, Egan heard back. “They wanted me to write a story highlighting the six signs that reality is catching up with science fiction,” he said. “It was the one I was the most passionate about.”
Narrowing down his topic ideas was the difficult part, but the writing that followed proved to be easy. Egan had an interest in and personal knowledge about the topic, but it was the preparation and experiences he received at Aurora University that he credits with helping him through the writing process. As a communication major, Egan spent two years writing and editing for the online newspaper Spartan Chronicle, was involved with SpartanCast Radio his senior year and wrote for the Aurora University literary journal NOLOS. “The experience I was able to gain while at Aurora University guided me in my development as a writer and allowed me to tailor my thoughts,” said Egan.
Egan’s feature article, 6 Signs That Reality is Catching Up with Science-Fiction, is a look into how technology in today’s world is starting to mimic things that people thought they would only see in science fiction films. With the story published, Egan hopes to continue to move forward in his professional career and build his portfolio. He says he cannot imagine a life without writing.
“I’m grateful for the communication courses and clubs at AU that facilitated my interests and allowed me to build a portfolio of quality-driven, professional written work,” said Egan. “I encourage students to participate in opportunities such as writing for the Spartan Chronicle or Nolos. I believe that my contribution to these publications was essential in building the groundwork for my current and future success.”
For more information about the communication program, visit aurora.edu/communication.