by Jamie Freveletti
We've all met them. The ones that will give us the "advice" that they feel we need to hear. The ones that say "don't go to college, it's only a piece of paper" (my generation was the first of blue collar workers to go to college and this comment came from some of the older relatives). Or "you won't win that poetry contest, do you have any idea how many other kids are writing?"
And my favorite since I started telling people about my dream to be a writer: "Everyone's writing a novel. Do you know the odds against you? You'll never make a living that way. Stick to being a lawyer."
Now, all of the above comments came from well meaning people, many of whom knew me, loved me, and were just trying to soften the illusory blow they felt I'd take when my dream did not become a reality.
Here's what I say:
Someone has to be an author; it might as well be you.
I say "someone has to be an author" because that's reality. There are people who are authors, do it for a living, and do quite well financially. Once you realize that the world has within it people whose job description is "author" then the dream doesn't seem quite so unattainable.
The thing about dream killer statements is that they are often, at least in a field as tough as this one, objectively true. The truth of the statement is what rocks you back on your heels when it's told to you, mostly because if you're writing a manuscript then you are well aware of the odds stacked against you. It's not as if you aren't smart enough to figure this out on your own. What you are trying to do is harder than the average activity. If it were easy, everyone would do it. If it were easy you'd do it now and not give it another thought.
The other thing about these statements is that they inevitably come from someone you love and respect and who you know has your best interests in mind. Because you know they love you, the arrow they fling goes deep into the heart of the dream.
Here's what I say: Stagger back at the hit if you must, but shake it off, right now, and continue forward. Because someone has to be an author. If you stop, someone else will take that empty seat at the table. And the seat is there. It's not easy to obtain, but it does exist. There are thousands sitting there right now.
Come join the party!