My mom has been begging me to clean out boxes of memorabilia from school lately, so I spent last night sorting through old yearbooks, “Cutest Pumpkin” contest winner certificates, postcards, and other stuff. But among all of the assorted items I cleared out (including a few dead bugs that were slightly fossilized), I found a bunch of stories that baby writer Lauren had proudly toiled and sweat over. They included this gem, Dotty’s First Thanksgiving, about a talking mouse with magical powers.
Yes, there were some plot holes, as well as a total lack of punctuation. Also, in an earlier tale, Dottie fights the Nazis, spelled Knotsies. But overall, it was an enjoyable read.
Seeing these stories and realizing that I really have loved writing since I was a little kid made me reassured. There are days when I think to myself, “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE!?” and panic a bit. Writing is a tough business. Even when you do create good content, it’s hard to get people to read it. It can be nerve-wracking putting your personal thoughts and feelings out there for public consumption, especially when you know how nasty comments sections on websites get. Not to mention how hard it is to date when the person you’re sitting across from knows you write about dating a lot and references a blog post you wrote a month ago (true story.)
But then I remember that this is something that’s always been important to me and I feel better. There are crappy parts to any job, and I realize that the crappy parts of this job are well worth it. Ultimately, all you want to do is make your seven-year-old self proud. If you were in elementary school and someone showed you a picture of what you’d be like at 27 or 30, what would you think? If you’d be at least a little impressed, you’re doing something right. If you can make your middle school or high school self proud that’s even better, because you were more of a fully formed person then. Also, hopefully you weren’t impressed as easily at that point.
I’ve also found that using this theory helps if you’re feeling a little bit lost at the moment. What did you love most when you were a kid? What about when you were in middle school or high school? Is there a way to take that thing and turn it into a job, or at least a component of a job? If you’ve loved it since you were little, it’s probably a true passion and worth pursuing.