Don't Let Anyone Kill Your Dream
I started reading fantasy novels from a young age. I remember when I was 12 or 13, I was reading a popular game-book series called "The Adventures of Lone Wolf" and I got the urge to write what would now be called fanfic on the story. I even wrote the publisher to ask if I could have permission to write novels based on the character of Lone Wolf. I was rejected because the original author, Joe Dever, was already working on the novels.
I began working on my own stuff at about 14 or 15. I came up with a story and struggled to write it. At the time, I was devouring fantasy from Terry Brooks and Raymond E. Feist and horror from Stephen King. I decided then that I wanted to be a writer for a living. I told my family and got blank looks.
"You can't make money as a writer," they said. "You need to find a real job."
I heard that enough that I gave up my dream and settled for the life they told me I needed to lead. College and work and all that. I struggled to get by because I couldn't figure out what to do with my life. I floated through, rolling with the punches, lost in the sauce. I was REALLY lost. I did just about everything, including joining the military cause nothing else made sense.
I fell into depression, social anxiety and at one point had a breakdown.
Finally, when I was almost 30, I returned to writing. I discovered that when I was writing, I wasn't depressed or scared or anything bad. I felt the emotions of what I was writing, good or bad, but that was just everything I had always held back; it was the stuff that was making me depressed. I was letting it go. I was finally doing what I was meant to do.
And I cursed myself for not doing it at 18 years old.
This story is not over. I'm not rich and famous (yet) for my writing. I'm still working a day job to make ends meet, but I have four books indie-published and I'm working on my fifth book, one that I am confident would get picked up by a publisher if I chose to do so (which I won't).
So, when you hear from friends, family and loved ones that writing is not something you should do for a living, remember that there are thousands of writers out there making a living as full time writers. They probably aren't as popular or rich as King or Patterson or Sanderson, but they are doing what they love.
No matter what it is you love to do, there is always a way to make your living doing it. Don't let anyone outside of you decide what you should do with your life, like I did. I came to the truth late in life. Don't let 20 years go by before you live your dream.