It’s funny that there are few of us who actually turn out to be what we wanted to be when we were kids. When you were little, did anyone ever ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I’ll bet someone did, teachers, siblings, parents, relatives. you look up at their expectant faces, struggling for a replay that they will approve of, like doctor, lawyer, astronaut, stock broker, os some other “worthwhile” ambition. If you say princess, clown, actor or ballerina, you were probably greeted with at best, “that’s nice.” or at worst, a condescending smile accompanied with a slight shake of the head that seems to say, “they’ll grow out of it.”
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I even went to university to get a degree in creative writing, only to graduate with the harsh realisation that there are few career advisors that support you in writing beyond the advice that teaching, waiting tables or secretarial work are all anyone will be willing to pay you for with such a discipline under your belt. Of course, it was easy for me to sell out and get a real job, abandoning my writing ambitions in favour of getting a steady pay cheque while I worked out if there was a “respectable” trade out there for me. Now, before you get on me and remind me that writers are valuable, take it easy. I’ll be the first to recognise that good writers are in demand. It’s just that no one tells you that when you’re 22 years old, in student loan debt to your eyeballs and trying to convince your parents that writing is something worthwhile. In fact, if you look around, we’re all desperate for fresh new “content”, whether it’s for blogs, news articles, adverts, entertainment, commentary, reviews, etc…Everywhere we look, people are desperate for people who can string two coherent sentences together, the question is, how does one distinguish between good and poor quality? Have we become less discerning as technology enables us to access more and more information anytime and anywhere, have we become so spoilt that we are willing to sacrifice quality for immediate information?
Anyway, I digress. This was meant to be about the disconnect between what we wanted to do growing up and what we actually do. Can many of us say that we are where we thought we’d be when we were kids? I certainly am not, but I’m happy to say, that I am writing. Even my prompts are a way of reminding me of what it is I have loved all my life, the ability to communicate through the written word. So, all is not lost.
So, try this, think back to what you wanted to be when you were a kid, Are you doing it? If not, what key events or circumstances made you take a different path? If you’re not doing what you love, is there something you can do so to change that? If you’d rather, write a story about a kid that decides what it is they want to be when they grow up. Maybe a trip to the circus makes them what to be an acrobat or an animal trainer.
(by the way, some people still look at me like I’m a dreamer/space alien when I say I’m a writer, I’m a lot of other things when it comes to profession, but trust me, I’m a writer)