When I was in the 4th grade (decades ago) I wrote a story for a Language Arts assignment. It was called “The Cat, The Dog, and The Jellybeans”. I got an A on the paper, and the teacher said she really enjoyed reading it. I was hooked. It was then that I decided I wanted to write.
I told my family. They thought it was cute. They all told me that “People like you don’t write, honey. And if you do write, you will never be able to publish anything. And if you do publish things, you will have to pay people to publish your work and you will never make any money at it”. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t money that it was all about. The words were just in my head and I loved them.
I wrote for the literary journals in school. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I rarely told anyone at home I was still writing. My teachers encouraged me. Kids at school congratulated me. But the words in my head still echoed. People like you… people like you… people like you.
Skip forward, (by this time I was REALLY hiding my writing because it didn’t pay and no one understood) and find me sitting in a cube farm, making a living but not really living. I needed a book to help me figure out how to do my job. And there wasn’t any book written. So, after I slept (it was a long project) I got mad and wrote the book I wanted to read. And I found someone willing to take a chance on me who published it. And I got an advance on royalties check. And I saw my name on a book jacket. And I was hooked again. I wrote a few geek books. And was published. And I fell in love with the words again.
People like me, and people like you, can write. If you don’t mind living your dream and chasing your own dandelion fluff, you can do it. It isn’t easy. Sometimes it is a lot of work and sometimes it means forgoing things that you might rather do, but you CAN do it.
Find your voice (of late, mine has been headed back to poetry, my first love) and let your own voice sing. Don’t ever pay heed to the people who tell you that People Like You can’t. We are all people like you, and people like you CAN!