Introducing: Kelsey Campbell, college writer

Kelsey (right) with fellow writer Sarah Choate.
Kelsey (right) with fellow writer Sarah Choate.

She’s a senior creative writing and English major. She’s a closet daredevil, with hang gliding and zip lining under her belt, to which she hopes to soon add parasailing. She writes because she sees hurt in the world and believes those stories must be told. She writes because it’s a cleansing act for herself.

She’s Kelsey Noel Campbell, poet, novelist and nonfiction queen.

Kelsey hails from High Point, North Carolina, and ended up at Asbury University after hearing about it from her sister, who attended here. Despite being anti-Asbury for a while, after she visited the school she felt like it was the right place for her.

Kelsey has been a writer most of her life, and says, “I write because I’ve been hurt and I’ve seen others hurt. And I write because I think those stories deserve to be heard.”

In pursuit of this, Kelsey spent last November and December working on a novel, one she started for her own twist on National Novel Writing Month. Instead of attempting to write all 50,000 words during the month of November, she started halfway through November and gave herself til the end of December to finish her 50,000 words.

In a video some friends and I produced for a class, Kelsey explains why she chose to do this.

She eventually found that this form of writing did not particularly suit her. “I don’t do well under pressure,” she explained. “I make quick decisions for my characters that they aren’t ready for. I need time to live with the story.”

As for her writing process, “I write whenever the urge hits me,” she said. “I don’t have a set time or place; I’m not disciplined enough.” She adds that sometimes as she’s watching a movie or reading for an assignment, she will be struck with an idea and compelled to write it down wherever she can find the space. “I’ve saved a dozen post-it notes, receipts or just scraps of paper,” she said.

Kelsey at a reading The Asbury Review held last semester

Despite her self-professed lack of discipline, Kelsey was editor of the Asbury Review during the Fall 2013 semester. She said that, of all the reading and writing events she has been a part of, “being the editor of The Asbury Review was the most rewarding. Even though it was extremely stressful and took up a lot of time, as cliche as it is to say, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”

In addition to being the editor of the Review, Kelsey also had a poem published last semester. “My heart belongs to poetry right now,” she said of her current favorite writing genre. Although longer works of fiction occasionally tire her out, she finds poetry refreshing. “I can get down a story or two in poetry all while using words and phrases that might be deemed ‘too fancy’ or ‘too poetic’ for a novel. I feel more freedom with poetry.”

She encourages everyone, writer or reader, to support writers, by attending readings, buying books by local authors or poetry chapbooks as well as encouraging writers. Good writing, she says, “Contribute[s] to the society we live in; [it] inspire[s] acts of boldness, acts of love, and reveal[s] evil and make[s] even the greatest sinners transparent and empathetic.”

Her passion for art goes past a simple passion for writing. She adds, “Whether we recognize it or not, we owe so much to artists of all kinds.”

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