It’s me, you. Except now I’m 41 and I’ve learned a thing or two since your overalls wearing days.
I just wanted to write to you and tell you something as you get ready to graduate college and head into the “real world.”
You see, at 22 you are full of dreams and full of talent. You have so much living ahead of you. If I could tell you just one thing right now, just one, it would be to not let your writing become about anyone else but you. Don’t let seeing your name in a byline become the thing the motivates you to write. Don’t let that become what matters. Let the words and the stories be the prize. May your curiosity always be what leads you and not the recognition and accolades.
It’s not an easy road and you will be tempted. You’ll find success in newspapers and in magazines. Seeing your name in print will be a rush and it will be well deserved, but please, I beg you, do not let that become the reason you write. Lest you turn 41 and wonder where the wonder of writing has gone.
Be true to yourself as a writer and love the craft. Do this and it won’t fail you.