Award-winning writer hones her skills in creative writing

Julia Knies, opinion editor

Step into the Creative Writing class at Cactus Shadows, and you’re likely to see students bent over their journals, writing and listening to music on their iPhones. Or maybe they’re tapping away on a Chrome book, adding to a story or non-fiction piece. For certain, Mia Milinovich, a junior, will be there, working hard on a story or poem.

Milinovich began her writing career in third grade after her English teacher encouraged her to write poems and gave her a notebook to put them in.

“Back then, I wrote about really bad stuff, like I wrote cheesy flower poems and things that everyone starts off with, but now I just take life experiences and how I’m feeling… It’s a stress reliever,” said Milinovich.

Currently, she often writes poetry, but every once in a while, inspiration will strike and she writes short stories or other kinds of literature. She prefers poetry because of all the possibilities it has with the different devices. Last year, her poem Lavender won the first place award in Shadows’ literary magazine in the poetry category.

“She puts a lot of detail into her work, giving the reader beautiful images in their mind,” said Lola Draper, senior and Editor in Chief of Shadows, the school’s literary Magazine.

Milinovich’s inspiration comes from her environment. Both the quiet of nature, which she says inspires plot, and a busy coffee shop, which leads to the creation of characters, help her create her pieces.

“Two of her pieces called ‘Cityscape’ and ‘Lily Lungs’ are free-verse poems that use intentional rhythm to pull the reader into her descriptive words, still effortless but strong in creating evocative images,” said Jaclyn Kennedy, senior and Literature Editor for Shadows.

Milinovich takes Lori Hart’s creative writing class to build on her writing skills and explore other ways of writing. She also joined Literary Magazine this year. Over the last few years, she has submitted pieces to the club, and, as mentioned, won first place last year, this year is the first time she has been a part of making the magazine. Next year, she plans to build on her writing experience by running for an officer position in the club. Both Creative Writing and the club have helped her become more comfortable with sharing her work with others.

“[Sharing your work with others] is awkward… You get so connected to stuff and having to read it in front of others is really awkward and a little nerve-wracking,” said Milinovich. “It’s cool when you can see other people relating to it though.” 

Outside of writing, Milinovich plays varsity softball and volunteers for the National Charity League. 

Check out Milinovich’s writing in the Shadows’ upcoming literary magazine, out in May. You can preorder the magazine by going to the Literary Magazine page on the Cactus Shadows website.