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Matthew Puzycki, who grew up in North Haven, recently self-published his first book, Forming the Javelin, while working full-time as a social worker. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Puzycki )
Matthew Puzycki can remember the first time he though he might want to be a writer. He had completed an English assignment at North Haven Middle School, writing a short thriller.
“I remember getting good feedback on that story and it was exciting,” says Matthew. “That really started the itch for writing, along with my love for fantasy—Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. I was always daydreaming and coming up with plots.”
He had enough interest in writing that several people knew of his aspirations to become a writer. A teacher even mentioned his goal of becoming a published author at his graduation from North Haven High School. Even before this goal, though, Matthew’s first dream career was a little different.
“Growing up, my parents would always ask what I wanted to be when I great up and I’d say I wanted to be a pirate,” says Matthew.
When he graduated high school, though, Matthew didn’t pursue either one of his original career goals. Matthew went to Boston College and graduated with a degree in psychology. He went on to pursue a master’s degree in social work from Edinboro University.
“In high school, you have one thing you want to do and I wanted to get a book published, but I thought it was unrealistic so I didn’t pursue it in college,” says Matthew. “I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I wanted a backup plan.”
Matthew has been working as a social worker since graduation from college and will earn his LCSW in the beginning of 2021. He hasn’t given up on his original dreams, though.
For more than two years, while taking classes and then working full-time, he has been working on a book, which he just self-publishing on Amazon. Matthew is now not only a published author, but also brought pirates to life in his young adult novel, Forming the Javelin.
Matthew started writing his book while he was in grad school, working on it whenever he could. He then worked with an editor to fine-tune the book and he notes that he learned a lot about narrative styles and the writing process through that work. Realizing how difficult it was to capture the attention of literary agents, Matthew decided to self-publish.
“I really wanted to get my name out there and get some popularity,” says Matthew. “In terms of publishing on Amazon, the process is very easy, but sharing it was other people was kind of scary.”
Throughout his writing, Matthew had a tight circle who knew he was writing. As he finished chapters, his mother, his fiancé, and a friend would read the story and provide feedback. He is grateful to them for their support throughout the process.
“My mom has really encouraged me and was one of the few people I confided in about how much I wanted to do this. She and my dad were very supportive,” says Matthew. “I was very anxious about finishing, but my fiancé, Sarah Lauretti, really pushed me to get it done. She’s been a huge support.”
Lauretti has also helped Matthew by creating a Facebook page and Instagram account (Matthew E. Puzycki, author). The family ties don’t stop there. The main characters in the story are named after Matthew’s cousins, James and Daniel, who he says are excited to read the book. When his book was finished, Matthew reached out to his brother, Kevin, to design the cover.
“Seeing the cover was the first time it really felt like a real book,” says Matthew. “Having it out there is still nerve-wracking and I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but it’s the first step in the process. Putting myself out there is something new for me.”
Outside of working his 9 to 5 job as a social worker and writing, Matthew has a variety of interests. He is an avid poker player, who enjoyed playing at the casino once a week before COVID. He and his friends also enjoy playing setback.
Matthew also enjoys football and traveling with a highlight being a two-week cross-country trip. He and Lauretti also have a love for escape rooms. Matthew took advantage of their mutual enjoyment of the activity and turned Lauretti’s house into an escape room with him proposing at the end of it.
“I planned it for weeks and I was at the end with the ring,” says Matthew. “It was a really fun to do, but four days later, we found out we both had COVID. Our family members had gotten it, too, but everyone recovered. We are happy we got through it.”
The couple is planning on an April 24, 2021 wedding date, though knowing firsthand how quickly things can change, they are also making sure they have “all the backup plans we can think of.”
Matthew is also still making time for his writing. He continues to take long walks to daydream about plots or characters.
“I work until 5 and I try to write for a few hours after work, but you have to be in the right mindset and have the mental energy to do it,” says Matthew. “I wish I could do it full time, but I’m not there yet.”
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .