The editorial team of Affinity Magazine is proud to showcase its young teen writers as part of its Writer of the Month series. For March, we unanimously decided to choose Daryl, whose unique voice Affinity wouldn’t be the same without, as our newest Writer of the Month!
Daryl, a first-year journalism student at The University of Maryland at College Park, has been bringing his passion for storytelling to Affinity for nearly three years. Throughout his time with us, he’s penned thought-provoking pieces on the entertainment industry, heartfelt reviews of the newest music and exposés on influencers. Daryl has clearly distinguished himself as one of the top Arts + Culture writers here at Affinity, and we are so lucky to share his voice with the world!
We sat down with Daryl to discuss his story, passions and advice for other writers!
Alice Ao: What is your background, and how has it influenced your writing?
Daryl Perry: I’m black and from a diverse city in Maryland, so diversity in multiple areas is something that’s always been a norm for me. When I write fiction, I try to keep diversity in mind since it’s something I grew up with. Article-wise, I have always been involved in the arts and local concerts so I’m naturally drawn to writing about music, movies and pop culture.
AA: What sparked your passion for writing?
DP: I started writing short stories in second grade because it was so awesome to me that people could create their own characters and worlds. I haven’t stopped writing since then.
AA: What advice do you have for new or younger writers?
DP: This is the cheesiest thing ever, but DON’T STOP WRITING. There are days where it seems pointless, or it’s just hard, but keep writing. It’s also great to take feedback from writers you admire or people who have more experience than you. Feedback is amazing and will help your work so much.
When you write, write for yourself, and write your truth. It all starts with you. It’s amazing when others can connect and relate to your work, but it has to be authentic. Whatever you write, make sure it’s genuine. And don’t be afraid to write out of your comfort zone!
AA: What’s your writing process like?
I see something that interests me about an artist I like or an issue that’s important to me. I then write what happened and share my opinion about it. If it’s a review, then it’s just my opinion. I usually rearrange certain parts before sending it off to an editor.
AA: What’s your favorite part of writing for Affinity?
DP: Probably the fact that I can write about almost anything, and can choose what I write about. It’s freeing, and the support from fellow writers and editors is amazing. Everyone cares so much about what they do.
AA: What’s your favorite article you’ve ever written for Affinity?
DP: This is a tough one. I feel like it changes all the time, but right now it has to be “Billie Eilish’s Fan Photo Shows That We Need to Stop Dehumanizing Celebrities” because I feel like that article will always be relevant, especially with stan culture becoming more prevalent.
AA: What have you learned from writing for Affinity?
DP: Always proofread and triple-check your work—I’m still working on this one! Try out writing different things to see what you’re really interested in, and don’t be afraid to try something new. And specifically, when writing for a publication, communication is key. Your editors and fellow writers are there for you, and great resources. Talk to them!
AA: Outside of Affinity, what else do you write?
DP: I recently got into poetry when I took a creative writing class last semester, and I’ve been hooked. It’s freeing. I also write fiction.
AA: What other things are you involved in at your school?
DP: I’m in philosophy club, photography club, creative writing club, which all have opened my mind so much to new things. Also, everyone is so nice!
AA: What are your future plans?
DP: I plan on being a journalist, and that’s what I’m studying right now in college. After graduation hopefully, I can do either a writing fellowship or Fulbright.
AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
DP: From an online article about audition rejection: “Every ‘no’ is one ‘no’ closer to a ‘yes’!”
Want to write for Affinity like Daryl? Keep an eye out for applications, which will be posted soon.
You can read more of Daryl’s work here!
All images are courtesy of Daryl Perry