Teenagers: What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

I’m here to tell you that you can make it as a novelist, a screen writer, an artist, a sculptor, a musician. Some of you might have a burning passion to write or maybe every chance you get, you’re drawing. You need to be obsessed. If you’re obsessed, then you can make it.

The sad thing is a lot of kids around your age give up on their passions. I did. I stopped writing. Right in 8th grade. I started thinking about my friends. I started drinking. I wanted to be sexy. I forgot who I was. Besides a few journal entries and some sad poems, I didn’t start writing again until my early twenties.

If you love to write or want to do any other artistic endeavor in your life, don’t stop now. Keep doing it every chance you get. Don’t give up on yourself. Maybe it’ll be a career. Maybe it’ll be something you do to bring yourself moments of pride, joy and beauty, while you carry on with the rest of your life. You may end up doing other things to make money, but you should keep writing, keep drawing, keep creating.

If you want your writing or artistic passion to be something that makes you money, you have to live it, breathe it, eat it, sweat it. You have to be willing to work just as hard as that person who wants to be doctor. Or a wall street broker. Or a lawyer.

Stephen King said: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

If it’s your passion, go for it. All that hard work will be worth it. I can tell you, the artist’s life is a joyful life. Most of all, don’t stop doing what you love, not now, not anytime during your middle and high school years. Do it because you love it.  And doing things you love makes you love yourself and that’s more important than anything you might end up doing to make a living.

(From a talk I gave to some local Eighth Graders for career day)

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