Author Erika Sanchez recently paid a visit to students this month via Zoom to answer questions and speak about her life as a writer. Both Addison Trail and Willowbrook students had the opportunity to meet and talk with Sanchez, who has written quite a few books, but is well-known from her book I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.
Both Sanchez and students alike were excited for this very informational and inspirational experience. Throughout the meeting, Sanchez touched on many topics that were relevant to her throughout her life including immigration, writing, and inclusivity.
She first started out as a young girl growing up in Cicero, Illinois. Her parents had emigrated to the United States from Mexico, and she spent much of her childhood attending school and writing.
Sanchez mentioned that Cicero was a tough place to grow up in, and this just served as motivation to her to do the best she could in school and work as hard as she could. She attended Morton East High School, and then graduated to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Upon graduating college, she then travelled to Spain on a Fulbright scholarship. She also attended the University of New Mexico. She then went on to pursue her career.
Sanchez discussed how she had aspiring dreams of becoming a writer growing up, and how hard she had to work to achieve her goals: “For many years I struggled to become a writer, I always knew that it was what I wanted to be, but the path was not very easy for me,” she said.
“There were many times where I struggled, and I had many jobs that were not related whatsoever to what I had studied. I had this romantic vision of what my life would be like, and after so many years, it finally came true.”
Sanchez also shared her thought process when it comes to writing. “My writing process is kind of scattered and unconventional,” she said. “I don’t necessarily write every day, but I do read every day.”
Sanchez believes that reading is the most important part of writing, and that we should read more than we write, and that it is an important part of her process.
She also mentioned how writing has become a part of her, and even if she doesn’t write everyday, she thinks about it. “For me, it’s this life project; it’s not a job necessarily, it’s something that I feel like I have to do because it’s who I am,” she said.
In addition to the discussion of writing, Sanchez also touched on the subject of inclusivity. She made clear her beliefs on being inclusive and respectful towards everyone, regardless of their sexuality or nationality.
She also added that these beliefs are things that she often includes in her writing: “I approach my writing like I approach my life, with authenticity and honesty. I write about things that are hard because I think it’s important that we address them.”
Sanchez then closed the meeting by sharing what her upcoming plan was, which was to publish her next book. This experience proved to all students that hard work truly does pay off as long as they put their minds to it, and become more open-minded.