What I’ve Done
My name is Christian Ashliman, and I love to write. At a young age, I was immersed in an academic world that put a massive emphasis on English, phonetics, grammar, writing, and structure. Attending a charter school in Utah through my elementary and middle school years, I came to appreciate language arts, and in the process, earned the Hope of America award at age 13.
In high school, I found a passion in entrepreneurial pursuits, running two small event businesses that focused on throwing LAN parties. I also ran my own solo window washing operation throughout my summers and learned the basics of web development and design–all while being a member of my high school’s football team and earning my Eagle Scout. Being the leader of a grant project introduced me to the realm of academic writing, which bridged well into my college career.
When I entered college, my family moved across the country to Georgia and I stayed to attend Utah State University. I helped run our family business selling StrapGear–a rubber bungee strap that my Dad invented to help backpackers, hikers, and outdoorsman tie down their gear more effectively. My role here was flexible: running the warehouse, shipping, assembly, marketing, sales, and communications–all at different times. Simultaneously, I was also growing an online channel streaming another hobby of mine, video games, to Twitch with a small, dedicated following of viewers.
Halfway through college I made a slight job adjustment and began working at a residential treatment center for teenage boys. This move paired well with the psychology degree I was working on at Utah State, allowing me to earn extra credit in applied work scenarios. Additionally, I spent time volunteering in English and Special Education classes for elementary and middle school kids.
I graduated from Utah State University in the spring of 2019 with a bachelors degree in psychology and a minor in history–both of which are stated to be the most writing-intensive degrees (aside from any language arts degrees, of course). During my time in college I wrote hundreds of essays, research papers, poems, and other creative pieces. I took classes to hone my passion for writing, style, content, creative process, and format, as well as learned countless note-taking, studying, and goal-setting techniques.
It is my hope that I can share that knowledge and ability through my work.
What Inspired It
I have always had a love for story. I think it originated with campfire tales my Dad would always tell about hunting escapades-gone-wrong, or getting lost in the wilderness with a scouting troop, or slipping down the face of a mountain. The stories went on, and I listened.
Then there were books. I won’t ever forget the draw I felt the first time I gave myself to the Harry Potter series, pouring through the pages like there was no sight of tomorrow. Then movies, movies and more movies. My days were filled with watching Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and every Disney film you can think of. My passion for a good story was the biggest hobby I had, shoveling it down my throat through any medium I could find it in.
As I got older, I was introduced to skateboarding and video games–and that pretty much changed everything. Skating was a sport that I could identify with–not a ‘who’s better than who’ competition, but me against a trick, a spot, or a line through the park. It was the most simplistic concept: improvement for the sake of the joy of sport; no numbers on a board or W’s on a record. It was a pure form of self-expression in style.
Video games worked in a similar vein. They allowed me to find the passion I felt when I read a great story like Harry Potter, while at the same time, becoming a part of the outcome myself. I could make a character in some fantastical world, and then make choices that built a story of my own. Role-playing games became my favorite genre, as I delved deep into the worlds of The Elder Scrolls and Red Dead Redemption, to name just a couple.
All through growing up, I kept various journals and notebooks, filling their pages with awful stick figure drawings and little paragraphs about what I did that day or how I felt about something. I wasn’t always consistent as a kid, but when I did write, it always forced me to look at things from a clearer perspective. I like to say that writing realigns the blocks of emotion, memory, and knowledge in my brain, unifying them in a unique and understandable way for me. And that is just something I can’t live without.
And all the lovely people. If one thing has inspired me more than anything, it’s the people who surround me. My family, friends, and supporters–all who have been there since the beginning, having my back, boosting my ideas, helping me see bigger and brighter pictures, and teaching me how to grow and become something better than I was yesterday.