My daughter is 15 and has been my partner in writing crime. For the last couple of years she and I have been writing books at the same time and it has been marvelous fun. Then school kicked in and she has not had as much time and of course she has a ton of other interests: dancing (5-6 days a week!), maintains a 4.0 in school, can draw like a demon--I can sketch but compared to her I'm a complete fraud--has a set of YouTubers she follows religiously (YouTube is her version of TV), she has her friends, she has a whole slew of "hot guys" she is constantly mooning over, so on, the list is longer than as this run-on sentence. Plus, she's my "yes" girl.
"Want to go skiing?"
"Want to go on a bike ride?"
"Want to go to Word Stock? Go to coffee? Go rollerblading?"
You get the idea.
During our hours of riding, coffee, rollerblading, we talk about our stories amongst other things--one of her favorite subjects is always the latest "hot guy" she is admiring--share ideas and experiences. Work through story lines and plot twists. Figure out how to smooth out dialog and create tension.
So yesterday, she came with me to Bring Your Kid To Work Day, and on the drive over she told me that she was thinking she might not be an author--this has been her stated profession for a couple of years now. It didn't come as a surprise to me, she spends a ton of her time drawing which is where I think the love in her heart really lies and she wants to try her hand at vlogging like her favorite YouTubers. But it still hurt a little.
My heart is like, "wait! When we go on the Amazing Race together we could have been father/daughter [best-selling] authors. That was going to be our shtick! I was going to help you put together query letters and a list of agents I researched." Blah blah blah.
But instead I said, "yeah, kinda been thinking that. So what do you think you might do?" and we launched into another entertaining conversation.
I've seen parents try and cram an idea onto their kid, and sometimes that's a good thing. You will stay in school. You are brilliant you can get a bit better grades. You aren't going to watch TV all day. You aren't going to eat doughnuts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But your dreams are your dreams, and watching your kids figure out theirs is even better, more exciting, more exhilarating than watching them try and fulfill yours.
Just let it go.
That's a metaphor for life, really. Most of the crap we try and control isn't worth the effort. Think about some of the stupid things we waste effort on and get spun up about and ask yourself if it is really worth it? What happens if you just let it go? Sometimes the result of letting something go, letting it unfold on its own, is even better than if you had controlled it. That's what I do in my stories, I let my muse take control and that seems to work. So I am.
My daughter is super good on social media and has an artist's eye, so she helped choose the color theme for my blog and has made recommendations on getting more followers on Twitter. Plus, she spent two years going down the writing-a-book-road, so she's my biggest supporter and we still get to talk about it. Who knows?, maybe she'll pick it up again later and if not that's okay. Then I'll get to live vicariously through her as she goes some off on some other fabulous adventure.
And when she turns 21 and we get on to be on the Amazing Race together, we'll have an even better byline.
Until next time, carry on!