I wasn’t the best English student in high school. I simply wasn’t. I was more interested in theatre and making up my own stories in my head. I wasn’t part of journalism, and it honestly didn’t interest me.
I was a weird kid, and I’m still pretty weird today. I was the kid who turned in math homework with a short story written on the back. I can’t tell you how many times I got in trouble for reading books during class because I was too interested in the stories to worry about my grades. English would hold my attention better than most classes, but I still got in trouble because I’d read the book for class, finish it, and then move onto reading whatever else I wanted when we were supposed to be working on an assignment or get a head start on our homework.
I was always reading, and I still am. The biggest thing was I couldn’t understand why I was getting in trouble for reading. Some kids got in trouble for skipping class, or not doing the homework. I was physically there, and the homework got turned in, but my grades weren’t great and I wasn’t very inspired to improve them.
You’d be right in thinking that I sounded like a bit of a jerk in high school. I really was, and it wasn’t that I didn’t care that my parents were frustrated or that I might struggle to find scholarships for college. It was simply that all I wanted to do was read and write. I did consider doing something with theatre, but looking back on it I really enjoyed studying the characters that I was helping bring to life.
I didn’t have a plan, and I really admire those people who have a goal that early on and work towards it. My husband is one of those people. He’s been making choices since high school that would ensure he got the career he wanted.
In a sense, I did have a goal, and that was being a writer, but it certainly didn’t come to be by checking all the necessary boxes at a specific time in my life.
I don’t really think I could articulate it to myself when I was that young, but everything I did kept me on the course to writing. I stubbornly kept doing what I had been doing. I read and I wrote, and it really didn’t bother me too much that my grades dropped.
Looking back I wish I had been more focused, but I’m still where I wanted to be, so I guess I should thank the little jerk I was in high school. I probably would have said that I simply like to write, if you had asked me what I like to do back then. I knew people made a living off of writing, but I’m not sure I had realized I could do the same thing.
I just kept doing what I loved, and it clicked that I should make it a profession.
So now that you know all my humiliating backstory of how much I sucked in high school, I just want to say that it’s ok to not have a plan. I didn’t have one. I just knew that writing stories and reading books felt like breathing. That it brought me more joy than almost anything else and I had to keep taking it in or I might suffocate.
More power to you if you have a plan, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t. I’m probably more stubborn than I give myself credit for (my husband says it’s easier arguing with a donkey/ pulling teeth is less painful. You get the picture). I just kept doing what I loved until I made a career out of it.
So just keep doing what you love. It could be your future career. It could be the hobby that you just can’t give up. If it’s important to you it shouldn’t take a backseat in your life.