The following is the author’s forward for a series of short books my partner, Gina Conroy, and I are publishing under the title Teen Writer’s Publish! The books and the associated podcast are more than writing and publishing instruction. It’s our desire to inspire a silent revolution among our youth, a desire to pursue your dreams regardless of the pressures that will be placed upon you as you near high school graduation.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@Ron_Estrada), you know I love to post inspirational photos and quotes. Some are my own, others borrowed. The other day, I posted a quote from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:
Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.
Some may accuse me of dramatics. What servitude? Most of you reading this live in a country where you are free to choose your own path, make a good living, raise a family, and live in a home that will require lawn care on a seemingly continual basis. We’re a free people.
The worst kind of servitude is that which we undertake voluntarily. Most of you will graduate high school, maybe get a college degree in a field suggested to you by teachers, guidance counsellors, or parents. You will buy new cars, extremely large televisions, and the aforementioned home. Then you will work the next 40 years at a job you no longer love in order to pay off all the debt you accumulated in your first few years of “freedom.”
Now, before your angry parents fire off hate-mail to me, let me be clear. They want what is best for you. They want you to never, ever have to wonder where your next meal is coming from or find yourself kicked out of your own home by some faceless mortgage holder. They love you and, if they’re like me, would give their lives for you.
But you have to speak up. If it’s writing that makes you happy, say so. Practice in front of the mirror of necessary. I’ll even provide a script:
“Mom, Dad, I want to be a writer (at this point there will be weeping…be strong). I’ll work very, very hard on my craft and make an honest living. And I promise not to take up drinking.”
Wasn’t that easy?
You see, freedom doesn’t come to us simply because there is no visible oppression from a government. Freedom must be grabbed onto, wrestled to the ground, and forced to remain our companion throughout our lives. It is something, like anything worth having, that must be worked hard for. Sounds backwards, doesn’t it? We shouldn’t have to bust our tails to be free. But if you are doing that which you truly love, the work is what brings you joy. The freedom comes from doing only what you are passionate about.
I assume, because you are here instead of mowing the lawn or reading a far more entertaining novel, that you want to be a writer. My question to you is this: do you want to be a writer bad enough to work harder than anyone who undertakes a “normal” career? Really, there are easier ways to make a very good living. Most of your peers will someday man a desk or a machine and only have to carry out a few orders a day, take home a paycheck, and kick back for some bad evening television.
You will work longer hours, exert more brain power, and suffer more rejection than any of them. You will still be working late into the night and on weekends while your friends have given up on your ever joining them at the beach. Your fingers will bleed on the keyboard.
Excited? I know I am.
And this is why: because, when you are doing something you love, it is far more enjoyable than the beach, certainly more enjoyable than a bar, and infinately more enjoyable than the latest TV show. You will love this torturous life and brag about it to the friends you have left.
You are a writer. Say it out loud. Make a name tag if it helps—Mary Smith, Writer. Wear it proudly. I truly believe that it is the greatest profession on Earth.
I’m glad you’re here. Now let’s get to work.