My advice to young writers
I guess this is really for anyone who needs it, but here we go!!
Follow your passions. Do what you love. And love what you do.
For some, that means going to school and getting an expensive piece of paper. But for others (myself including) it means going to work with a smile on your face.
I started writing when I was in elementary school, got put into a magazine (which you will never find. I used a pen name that I have literally told no one), and then shelved my creativity until high school, where I wrote in silence. One of my best friends read through everything, and -God bless her soul- printed out each chapter and put it into sleeves and gave them their own 3 ring binder, which she kept in her locker or let her boyfriend(s) read. BTW, she was not a harlot, just dated a couple guys in high school. Back off you vultures.
But eventually, that all faded and I stopped writing for a couple years, regardless of how much people told me they liked it. After that I got calls and emails from several publishing companies after they had read some stuff that I had posted on forums and shit (back when the internet was new). Those calls sent me into a panic. “I can’t be a writer, that’s ludacris. I’m not nearly good enough for that.” And I delved into a hole and put a shell around myself.
There came a time, I don’t even know what was going on in my head, when I went back to NaNoWriMo, which sparked my interest again and I started writing. Not long after that I helped form a publishing company, and now here we are.
Yet, none of you know who I am. I am just a person writing a blog who has her hand in the bowl of claims of validation, trying to tell other people to do things. What you don’t know is that I have written for a couple big-name authors, with my own words scribed under their name. I have sold papers and stories to different companies and people and colleges that I cannot even begin to wonder where they ended up nor who took the credit for my words. But here’s the thing with that: I, Courtney, am happy. And you can bet your bottom dollar that not many people could say that same thing today. I don’t make bookoo dollars (even though I work anywhere from 40-80 hours a week) and I should, in all reality, find a new job. But I love the passions of what I do. We have a company office, where we can sit here and help create a future for you young writers that just want to take a leap into the world and try to be noticed. I get to play with my passion every day, and I want to.
There are still those moments when I have to stop and wonder if it is all really worth it. I get the “So how’s business? And your writing?” Question from each and every one of my family members, which is more obligatory than anything. I can see the doubt in their eyes and hear it in the way they say “So when are you going back to school?” A good chunk of my closest friends are on standby, waiting for things to go downhill, but not knowing that I have an arsenal in my inbox just waiting for the right time to come out to play. There are days- nights, realistically- where I sit at my desk, with my coffee steaming and my bottle of water (Hydration nation folks) half-full, pulling up several college websites with my bank statements sitting right in front of me. I have thought about turning my back on myself and starting fresh somewhere new. I am more than capable of doing something much more practical with my skills and my padded resume, where I know that I would make a lot of money. But I love writing.
So my point is, don’t be afraid to fail and ignore the people who scoff at you, and do what you love. Take the time to focus on the things that make you passionate, or at least take some time away from your safe life and focus on something that you love. Write books, paint masterpieces, and sing lullabies, build houses. Whatever calls to you. You have only one life, and you might as well live it the way you want to.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
-The Great and Powerful Oz