When I think about one of the things I want to accomplish with my writing, I think about children today. Not necessarily the little ones, but teenagers. I want to reach them. I want to touch their lives.
There are two ways I want to do this:
1) Through my books
2) Through my example
Through my books
I don't want my books to be preachy. I sure hope they are not. But I have carefully chosen characters that represent different ways of thinking, ways of life, with different morals and beliefs. My hope is to get people to put themselves into a mindset that is not their own, and make them think a little bit about why this character acts the way he/she does. I want my readers to question their own lives because of how they see things play out in my books. I hope there are certain characters they will admire and respect, and certain characters that they will strive not to be like.
But above all, I want them to pick up my book and feel understood. To know that their thought processes and feelings are just as real and valid as anyone's. To know that we, as adults, appreciate what uniqueness they have to give to society right now.
Through my example
There's a lot to be said for having a dream. We really can accomplish whatever we want--with a lot of sweat and perseverance! And many of our dreams begin when we are young. I started my first novel when I was 9 years old. Only made it three chapters before I quit, but still. That's what I wanted, and I knew it.
I wrote Perilous when I was 12 years old. I finished it. It's true that the draft I wrote 15+ years ago is very different than what it is now, but it's the same story. Just several several several drafts later. Just because someone is young doesn't mean they can't accomplish something big. It's important to believe in oneself. To keep the future in mind. There's a girl at my church who, with her sister, raised enough money to build a library in Cambodia. They are teenagers. It is inspiring what young people can accomplish.
And you don't have to be pretty, popular, or rich. Oh, how I wish I had a picture of myself in junior high! My glasses were tinted and took up half my face. I wore my hair long and unstyled, usually with a clippy holding back half of it. The only clothes I had in my closet were t-shirts and jeans. I had friends and they thought my writing was silly. None of them wanted to read my drafts. They didn't care. And I certainly wasn't rich. We all joked that my first car would cost $50 and have no seats or flooring. We'd have to run to get it started just like a Flintstone car.
But I had notebook paper and a pencil and study hall. I wrote a book. And it got me somewhere.
Share with me one of your childhood dreams. Is it still a dream? Have you accomplished it? What are you doing to make it happen?
Image from http://www.iparentingcanada.com/articles/preteenagers/friends-or-foes-1187/2/.