When I was fourteen, I went to a nursing home while at a summer camp. We decided to give them a visit and have chance to speak with the residents. I was still very, very shy at this point. I watched the other more outgoing girls strike up conversations with the residents with relative ease while I stood around awkwardly for several minutes before finally sitting down next to an lady and did my best to enter into conversation.
I don’t remember what we talked about exactly. She told me about herself, and I told her about myself. She asked me what I liked to do, and I told her. She seemed excited when I told her I liked to write. She told me she did as well, and suddenly, the conversation went much easier.
Before long, we had to leave. But I still remember her words as clearly as if she had spoken them yesterday.
“Don’t stop writing.”
A couple of years later, I was at an event. My mom got news that a certain author was at that same event, an author my mom could recognize by sight, and she promised she keep an eye out for her. Hardly an hour later, as we rushed to our next event, pressing through a swarm of people, there was the author. My mom felt comfortable calling out to her, hurrying up to her, and finally, introducing me to her.
It was noisy, we were still on the move, but I got to talk to her. She was a real author, and I was astounded. There was someone doing what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ask her my questions or get her advice, as we were pressed for time, but as she bid goodbye, she said one thing to me.
“Don’t stop writing.”
When I was a senior in high school, I shyly asked my favorite teacher for advice on writing. I felt like her opinion of me and the words she said would determine the fate of my dream. What if she said it was unrealistic? What if I was too young? So many fears that had plagued me for so long started bubbling up in my head as I asked her my questions. I still remember everything she said, but one short phrase always stuck out to me
“You can write.”
If writing is something you love, something you believe in, something you know you want to do, don’t listen to those who discourage you. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Ignore those who try to dissuade you. Pick yourself up after every fall, after every discouragement, and keep at it. And let me echo those three words to you that have kept me going for so long.
Don’t stop writing.