Earlier this year, I had a parent-teacher conference for my daughters—all good news, which is always nice. My oldest was lauded for her storytelling, and I smiled. Then the teacher told me about my youngest, a somewhat shy girl, “It’s amazing what stories she writes. Way ahead of her peers.”
And I cringed. Because what writer wants their kids to grow up to deal with the cards publishing deals us every day? Better to be a doctor, a vet, anything else.
In a few weeks, The Young Authors Club starts up again at my local high school, where I help teen writers with dreams of becoming an author someday. So many kids signed up that there’s concern of where to hold it so there’s room; I joked that I usually lose a few once I explain how hard the road to a published novel is.
I sounded like bitter divorcee at a wedding. Yuck.
And who am I to be that bitter anyway? If it’s so bad, why don’t I just give up, go work at Wal-Mart or something?
I know why, and if you’re a writer, I bet you do too. It’s because the payoff isn’t at the business end. There will always be hurdles: finishing a manuscript, getting an agent, a publisher, getting enough sales to keep a series going. Getting paid a decent wage, if you freelance, like me. The biz part never gets easier.
The best part of writing is when you sit down and disappear in the story. I see it in both my daughters, my students, and I’m reminded myself now that I’m starting the first draft of a new story again. It’s like flying, high on imagination.
Who cares what we all grow up to be? The fun is in uncovering the story. And those blue smocks just do nothing for anyone.