Okay boys and girls, it’s story time.
So Thanksgiving was last week and because it’s a very family-oriented holiday, it’s usually a time when you spend lots of time with family. I didn’t, but that’s because my family lives several thousand miles away, but that’s not what this story is about. This story is about a friend of mine who, like me, loves to write and wants to eventually publish one day. This friend messaged me last week while she was spending time with her family, distraught because they were marching out the old “Stop writing. Go study. Go on dates. Writing will never get you anywhere” speech.
Now personally, I have never been the recipient of that particular speech. I consider myself very blessed that my parents are very supportive of me and my writing (which I think I can largely chalk up to the fact that my dad is a poet–check out his book here–and his dad gave him that speech, which made him go to law school, which my dad generally regards as a poor life choice) and this isn’t to say that my friend’s parents are awful people who don’t support her or love her–because even while she was complaining about them, she mentioned that they’re the very best parents for her.
But their diatribe upset her. It made her feel like she was being foolish because it upset her and it made her feel like her family didn’t understand why writing was so important to her.
And as someone who DOES understand why writing is important to her–because it’s equally important to me–my heart kind of bled for her.
Because having people you care about and whose opinions you value tell you that the things you find important aren’t important kind of sucks.
So I am here to tell you all to do what you love. Making money and having a place to live is important and all that, but so is being happy. And if you guys are anything like me, then writing makes you happy. And it doesn’t just have to be writing–it can be anything (though in this case I am mostly talking about creative endeavors). I have a sister who graduated from college with a BFA in acting, as did her husband. That’s right–two acting majors got married, graduated, and are now trying to find a place in the world. Most people would assume that either she or her husband would give up on their dreams and abandon their talents–and they do have talent–to get a “real” job and become “real” adults. But they haven’t–and I don’t think they will.
My sister and I were both raised to believe that creative endeavors are just as important as anything else we could be doing with our lives (again, I attribute this mostly to my father the poet. Did I mention you could get his book here?) and we were raised to think that doing what you love is more important than making oodles of money.
Because here’s a fact: even if I never publish a single book in my entire life, even it turns out that I’m really an awful writer and people would rather wash their eyes out with peroxide than read anything I write, I’m still going to write stories and books. And I’m going to do it because it makes me happy. It’s a way for me to process my life and it’s a way for me to de-stress from everything I am supposed to be doing. It’s therapeutic. And on days when I feel like poo and everything feels wrong, being able to escape for an hour into my fiction helps me recharge and regroup. First and foremost, I write for me–and no one can really take that away from me.
I’m closing with a video, because it pretty much says everything I want to say right now only it says it better:
Also, because I feel bad plugging my dad’s book without plugging the book that my mom wrote, you buy her book here.