Creative Writing and Why Chasing Our Dreams Is Never Good Enough
Why not go into creative writing?
As a simple answer - it's difficult. From an early age, we write books and poems and plays and we marvel at how language can be manipulated so beautifully, but we are taught that this is only for fun. We grow older, we grow taller, and writing stories or poems is nothing but a piece of our past. We did it to expand our imagination and vocabulary in an academic environment. We read, rarely for pleasure, but because a teacher wanted us to.
We had it drilled into us that writing and reading are mindless, compulsory tasks. We were asked to become doctors, scientists, carers, teachers - so we can heal and help and tutor - but does writing not do all of that? Can we not heal the mind with beautiful words, can we not teach people of all races, ages, religions, with our language? Is it not enough to create entire worlds with your mind and allow people to live in them?
Why is it when children aspire to be writers, they are told that is nearly impossible, but when they say that they want to discover a cure, something which has been attempted hundreds of times before, but never accomplished, are they told to chase their dreams? Are our aspirations only achievable when they fit into your agenda? Why can we not all, in our own ways, be writers, artists and creators?
Are our aspirations only achievable when they fit into your agenda? Why can we not all, in our own ways, be writers, artists and creators?
If they tell you that being a writer is okay, they say "look at how much money J K Rowling has made!", not "look at how many hearts she has touched".
Why can we not all chase our dreams?
I think that we can all agree that the world is a terrifying place. I, as a college student, can vouch that being thrust out into the world alone to search for success and happiness feels a lot like being thrust into the ocean, to search for a seashell. You will come across many potential shells in your lifetime, but some of them will be chipped, or will be taken by someone else as they swim past you.
When you're nothing but a child, edging along the shoreline, eager to swim through the waters, you will have many shells fall at your feet. Some may cut your soles and some will shine so brightly in the sunlight that you feel that must have it and take it home - but you are not ready yet. The ocean is so large, it feels like it could go on forever. The world feels limitless.
Then, as you grow, you feel the tide start to wash the beach around you, and now the floor beneath your feet is covered. The horizon stretches out for miles and miles and you have to swim or you will drown. The further you get, the harder it becomes to find shells; the deeper you have to swim to reach them - and how can you risk your life to reach for something beneath the waves, when you can't see what it looks like yet?
What I'm trying to say is that it is okay. It's okay to drop what you were handed at birth and swim in another direction. It's okay to keep moving forward, and it's okay to go back to the shore.
Being thrust out into the world alone to search for success and happiness feels a lot like being thrust into the ocean, to search for a seashell
Do Our Dreams No Longer Matter?
We are shown, as young children, that the people we must aspire to be have big pay-cheques, not big imaginations. If they tell you that being a writer is okay, they say "look at how much money J K Rowling has made!", not "look at how many hearts she has touched".
Is it not toxic, the way that our dreams no longer matter? Is bringing us up to chase the futures we desire, to then tell us that we cannot achieve them, not like showing us a whole box of crayons and forcing us to draw with only one colour?
They say that writing is an impossible career to go into. I have been told that all my life. 'It's competitive', they say, 'you'll never make it in that world', or 'You need to make money, Abbie, you need to have an actual career'. When someone asked me what job I wanted to have, and I genuinely answered, they said 'no, I mean a real job, not a dream.'
Can they not be the same thing? If everyone in history who wanted to be a writer stopped trying because someone told them to, we would have no novels to read. We should draw with every shade of every crayon. Our lives are our own canvases, and we should not be confined to how we colour them. We are all artists and creators- even if you genuinely want to be a doctor or a teacher or a general manager, and not a writer like me, you should fight for it for yourself, not because of a pay-cheque and not because you have been forced to do so.
Is bringing us up to chase the futures we desire, to then tell us that we cannot achieve them, not like showing us a whole box of crayons and forcing us to draw with only one colour?
© 2018 Abbie Leeson