I am under no impression that I am an expert at writing. I will readily admit to everyone that I am new to this world of writing and blogging, despite being an English teacher. I expected that it wouldn’t be as easy as I’d hoped it would be; Nothing in this world is ever as easy as it seems. I expected that I would have a rough time juggling the time consumption of writing and the strains of having three jobs. I thought I knew what was coming… for the most part. The one thing I never expected, though, were the words, “You should probably just stick to teaching”.
When I first decided that I wanted to become a writer and pursue my dreams of actually publishing a YA fantasy fiction novel, I was overjoyed. I was constantly thinking to myself, “THIS is where I belong! THIS is the path I know I am supposed to pursue! I WILL find my niche with this choice!” For the most part, just being a newcomer to this writing world, I already feel like I have found some kind of secret club that understands me like no one else ever has before. They understand my nerdy side and aren’t afraid to talk in public about having magical powers, sobbing hysterically over books, and killing off characters. I had found my people!
So what’s the first thing you do when you decide you have found a new passion and possibly want to change your career? You tell your friends! My mom practically koala hugged me as she jumped on me and screamed in joy. “I always wanted to be a writer”, she had claimed, but never had the guts. She told me that it would be an amazing choice for me and that I would excel greatly in it. Confident in my new choice, I told my best friends who, also, proceeded to tell me that they were happy for me and would be more than willing to bounce ideas around and read any drafts I come up with.
Finally, I tell my other friends. You all know you I’m talking about: the people you see on a daily basis and talk to all the time, but don’t necessarily see the friendship as “strong”. At first, they were cheering me on, “YEAH! GO FOR IT!”, “That would be awesome!”, “DO IT!” As I continued to talk to them about my dreams and plans, though, I very quickly felt a change of temperament towards my new found dreams. All of a sudden, “Are you really doing this?”, “Do you know how hard that’s going to be?”, “You’ll never be able to give up your day job if you want to write.”, and my personal favorite, “You should probably just stick to teaching and get a job”…
Immediately, I went from steam coming out the ears, to doubt, to a depressed state of mind and kicking myself for thinking that it was even possible to be a professional writer. It took me three days of stewing their words around in my mind for the steam to finally come back. I was about to blow a gasket at how absolutely negative they were. I decided, then and there, that I would do everything in my power to PROVE THEM WRONG! SO WRONG that I would even dedicate my first published book to them and mail them a copy, just for good measure. That’s my personality, though. That’s how I’ve always pushed through rough times in my life. I face everyone who did me wrong or who didn’t believe in me head on and tell them “watch me“. Granted, that confidence, determination, and most likely boiling temper comes from a past of being bullied and yelled at and holding it all in, but that’s a story for another time. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
As I’m sitting here now, I realize that my friends who doubted me, they were right. I know that I honestly don’t know how hard it is going to be and the easier path to take would be to stick with teaching… but if writing is where my heart is taking me… why should I give that up just to take the supposedly “easier” path? The answer: I won’t. I won’t be giving up my dreams no matter how many people tell me “NO“, which will happen more times than I could ever possibly imagine. I won’t give up my dreams when my friends or family may not believe in me. I won’t give up my dreams when I get rejected by agents and publishers for many years. My dreams are like a fire spreading, igniting, erupting inside of me. I can’t let them go, not now, not ever. My realization for the day is that I now know that I am lucky to have hit this type of resistance so early on in my life because it will make it easier to deal with later on when I am beginning to achieve my dreams. Their resistance, and the resistance I am going to face will only fuel my fire to write more, to be more successful, to inspire more people to follow their dreams.
So, to finish this long blog entry off, I ask all of you, my lovely readers, to share with me, and with each other, your inspiration. What inspires all of you to keep going, to keep following your dreams despite all of the people that doubt you or say “no”? Share it with me in the comments. I’d love to talk to all of you about it and spread a little more joy and inspiration around the writing world. It seems that we, of all people, seem to need it most during this time.
With love, hope, and inspiration,
“Everything you’ve ever read, listened to, or watched was created by someone who was told their dreams weren’t worth pursuing.” – Lauren DStefano, Twitter @LaurenDeStefano, Author of The Chemical Garden series and the Internment Chronicles series