Millennials Making an Impact: Meet Aaron OzeeMonday, October 03, 2016 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE
What were you doing when you were a teenager? I think back to my teen years and early twenties as a tumultuous time in my life. I think I was just trying to make it through. So, it always amazes me when I come across a young individual truly making an impact and following their dreams. Having your vision in order at a young age, is no easy task. Yet, when you are inspired and know what you want, all it takes is a little follow through and a whole lot of guts. One young Millennial who is truly going for it is Aaron Ozee. During our twenties, most people are just maneuvering their way through life. Finding a way to not be deterred by bad decisions or caring about what others think, it can be a bumpy ride. Yet, for some it is all about the journey and not just the destination.
Aaron is a college student on a mission. He's not afraid to pursue his goals and is doing so unabashedly. Aaron Ozee is a young poet that has published nine books of poetry since 2011, writing his first collection titled, “Celestial Inferno: Poems of Another Realm” at age fifteen, which has marked Ozee as one of the youngest authors ever to have been published in the world. I wanted to learn more about his journey and share a spotlight on his current work. Keep reading for the full interview.
Aaron, can you share a bit about yourself, your background/career and what led you to pursuing a career in the beauty industry?
I have always been a very dedicated individual when it comes to pursuing my sincerest desires and achieving the goals I set before myself. And now, more than I ever have in my life, do I hold the keys to my own success that will hopefully, one day, make my career as an author and entrepreneur something of great note.
I’ve been pursuing a career in writing ever since I was five years of age. Creating picture books depicting fictional heroes and miniature epics filled with talking crabs is really how I started out. Sure, those were just some of the first steps I had to take in order to get where I am today, but they were definitely worth my time to experiment with so earlier on.
I’ve tested my hand at so many formations of the written word across countless genres such as children’s books, short stories, plays, and novels but none of them really stuck a bell in my mind until I began to compose poetry. Writing in general has always been a sanctuary for me considering how free I can be with my thoughts without ever facing the eroding judgment of another person. And when poetry was introduced into my way of life, the intensity of my passion only became stronger and flourished in a way, as you may see now, that back then I never believed could possibly happen.
Can you explain what happened after you published your first book and how exactly your career took off from there?
The point I’m trying to make here is not for the established writer, but for the aspiring writer that has yet to get their name, and the words they have written, placed upon paper for the world to notice. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and if anyone tells you different, they’re not someone you should be hanging around with. You are your own master and you control the fate of your destiny. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner your dreams will be invincible.
Where do you draw your inspiration for the work you create – how do you go about exploring new and different things to write about?
What are you hoping to do in the next 5 years in terms of growth and outreach?
Being someone who has developed a great ambition for writing and expanding my entrepreneurial abilities, the question you should be asking me is what will I not do to grow over the next five years? There are so many obstacles that I have yet to overcome and so many unexplored territories that I have yet to conquer that this goal to claim even a lick of success may go on until the last breath in my body makes its great escape and leaves me to face the demons of my own creations. But with writing at my back, there’s nothing that I cannot achieve and is the only earthly entity that won’t abandon me.
I have plans to take a more educational approach to the distribution and promotion of my published titles by reaching out to schools and libraries willing to accept my work into their vast inventories of other marvelous books. The bulk of my readers do come from my generation and are certainly some of my most dedicated followers but are not the future audience of my creations. It is the children that are checking out my books from their local library or receiving one of my titles from their educator to stand as the basis for a specific class or seminar they have been enrolled in. If it should be anything, that’s my five year action plan.
Originally, when I thought it would be a great idea to claim the world record for, “Most Books Published By A Teenager,” I directly approached the review committee responsible for vetting and approving all record applications for the Guinness Book of World Records, which as you already know, is the largest world record organization around right now. So, after submitting my application through their website, I was made to wait close to an entire year for the review committee to deliver their verdict, and after much anticipation, they denied my request to claim the record due to, “the genre of my writing was too specific to be recognized.”
The decision that was given to me by the Guinness Book of World Records immediately put me down and made me feel that my work was unwanted or should be regarded as not worthy of their credible support. But after thinking it over for several days, I stood right back up and went on searching for other world record organizations that might be interested in taking my application seriously and actually consider its merits.
Have you faced obstacles on this journey and if so, how did you overcome?
The plethora of obstacles I have faced since I first put pencil to paper when I was merely a child have not damaged my efforts in writing, but on the contrary, have helped further my success as an author in ways that could have instantly executed my dreams but failed to do so.
I try not to see the obstacles I face as threats to my cause or articles of being human that are always out to get you. Instead, it is my understand that they are simply bumps on a road that must be passed but can be easily overcome if you keep your eyes open, hold the wheel straight, and avoid being distracted. And if everyone viewed this matter in the same way I do, I wholeheartedly believe that most of the personal inconsistencies we have in our lives would be extinguished even before they manifest.
Writing, editing, publishing, distributing, and promoting are not easy tasks, and if you’re in this game for the fun of it, you may want to review the fine print before signing on. Becoming a writer is about challenging yourself in ways that you have never been challenged before. It’s about pushing the brink of possibilities past what you already know to be real. But if you can set all of this aside and still find the courage within yourself to board this train, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
What kind of advice would you give a person who is interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry or in self publishing?
The advice that I give to anyone trying to be like me is simple: once you get going don’t stop rowing. Meaning that when you make your first move to enter this space you can never go back because once your name is out there it’s out there for good. Trust me, when I published my first poem on PoetryNation.com and shared it with all of my Facebook friends, I was nervous that they might think differently about me as an individual, but when the feedback started to roll in, confidence was the only thing remaining in my mind at the time.
You have to understand that anyone can publish a book nowadays and be given the same opportunity as everyone else to make a name for themselves. The art of this equation that most fail to realize is that even though anyone can make the first step, how are you going to figure out what happens next? There’s no one there to stand beside you and walk you through the process the whole way. It’s just you. For instance, I didn’t have someone who sat next to me as a published my first book when I was only 15 years of age. I was still in high school and had not even the slightest clue what I was doing here. But with the vast networks contained within the miracle we know as the Internet, anything was possible and not one thing was going to stand in my way.
If you really want to become a writer, you need to utilize the information already available to you. Don’t try to go the traditional route, submit your manuscripts to big publishing houses, await their approval, and then find out they won’t accept works for unknown authors. Use your time wisely and do exactly what I did five years ago. Become best friends with your computer and go on an adventure you’ll never forget.
Are there any mentors that have had a huge impact on you and your career?
If anyone has any questions for me about anything I stated in this interview, please visit my website at AaronOzee.com or connect with me on social media to arrange a talk or meet. My door is open and I’m here to help you in any way that I can if it means you’ll become one step closer to being who you were meant to be.