This month, I sent my oldest daughter off to college. She is well-equipped with bedding, computers, printers and shampoo, and she has been ready for this for a long time. I am excited for her to go out into the world at last and discover what she is really made of, to find her own way, although of course I am nervous about what waits for her.
She wants to be a writer.
Like me, she has wanted to be a writer from a very young age. Like me, by the time she got to high school, she had notebooks full of stories she had written. Like me, she’s been the darling of her English teachers, and she’s won local writing contests. She is well prepped to succeed.
The difference is this: my daughter grew up seeing my picture in the back of books. She’s seen the process up close and very personally. She’s spent her whole life watching me hole myself up in my office with threats of death if she interrupted me for anything less than arterial bleeding or raging house fires. She’s seen how precisely my mood is dictated by whether it was a good writing day or a bad one. She’s experienced the financial feast-or-famine that comes with every professional writer’s life. My writer-in-training daughter knows intimately the kind of future she is looking at, and it has never ever occurred to her that she cannot have it or that it’s not worth having.
That was not so true of me. I didn’t know how to go about getting what I wanted, nor if it was even possible. I only knew I could not be truly happy doing anything less and so I was willing to take a long, slow road if necessary to get there. I took many risks, and have made many sacrifices.
My daughter knows intimately the struggles she has before her, and she’s learning from my mistakes and prepared to make a few of her own.
She sees something I sometimes forget, and it’s good to be reminded of it now and again: It is all worth it. Being a writer and telling stories is a fine and noble calling, and one that is immensely satisfying and important. And important things are worth time and sacrifice. As hard and challenging as a writer’s life can be, I could not be happier or more proud that she wants to be a writer too.
Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. The Best Reviews has said she writes “Fascinating historical fiction.” Her books have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices program and IndiBound’s Booksense. A former television news photographer with a BA from Western Washington University, Megan Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. Find her at: http://www.MeganChance.com.