A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of talking to some 200 middle- and senior-high-school students at their annual career day fair. I know, it sounds like a scream, doesn’t it? Actually, I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite people are kids, and I was once one too, so I dug this opportunity to talk to them about the writing life.
As they wandered by, hesitant to make eye contact, I called out to them. Hey, are you a writer? Take my quiz and find out! Some were very clear that writing was not their calling; luckily there were plenty of caring adults offering insight and opportunities in other areas, so I encouraged them to find their dream connection somewhere in the gym. But most of the kids came right over, curious. Some ran to me. Those are the ones I was there for! I handed them each a quiz I created to help them identify their talents, and they filled it out. Why don’t you take it right now by clicking here: Writer Quiz for Students
It’s a simple thing, but the point is creative young people need support. The writing life, by nature, is marked by solitude. That’s a good thing. But working in a bubble has its drawbacks. You need a sounding board some times. Not just for affirmation but to test the waters and see if you are connecting with readers as you intended. Plus, kids just need to be validated, no matter what their vocation or calling.
Think back a bit and I bet you can recall a mentor or neighbor, relative or teacher who encouraged you in your tender years. That was no accident, my friend. I think in the great web of life, we’re all here to lift up others as we journey ourselves. In my case, I will be starting a writing group at my local school to give these kids a place to explore their talent and get a little encouragement. I’ve been lucky to receive such support myself in the past, and now I can pay it forward a little bit. So who cheered you on in your youth? How do you—or people you know—support others now? Share your story in comments below and inspire others. And thanks for giving back!