So I was hanging out with a bunch of 13 year olds – aka substitute teaching them – and during a keyboarding class, they told me their fastest typist in the class could type sixty words a minute.
I told them I typed 130wpm and was instantly praised as the coolest (if not nerdiest) person in the room. (In my defense, I hear, “Mrs. Young, you’re so cool! You’re our favorite sub!” wayyyyy more often than I hear, “OMG Mrs. Young, you’re a complete nerd and should be ashamed of yourself.”)
After boasting of my high wpm, and then giving a demonstration on the computer, where the kids talked and I typed it as fast as they could say it, (not exactly a good idea because of the things they’ll say, but hey, what their teacher doesn’t know won’t hurt them) one girl told me that it’s so cool I’m a writer and that, are you read for it?
She wants to be a writer when she grows up.
And here’s the thing–so many people feel the same way. They’re in their teens, or twenties, or forties and they think that they’d *like* to be a writer at some point in the future when their either a) grown up b) out of college c) finished raising kids d) retired, or whatever.
And the thing about being a writer is that it doesn’t have any prerequisites at all besides speaking a language and having the ability to write in that language. Kindergartners can do that. You don’t have to be good at it and you don’t need a master’s degree in anything at all.
My absolute biggest regret as an author is that I didn’t start earlier. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life and I recall thinking the same thing as that 7th grader, that when I’m older I’ll write a book. I should have written a book back then. I’ve been at this for 7 years now and my writing abilities have increased exponentially every year.
So when that student told me, “It’s so cool that you’re a writer, that’s what I want to be when I grow up!” I told her that she should be a writer now.
And so should you.