and in your mind you’re great
Your dreams are there within your grasp
You clasp them tight and know
that as you grow
You’ll meet each goal
Your soul desires
Until someone you admire says, “No!
You don’t have talent,
you can not do
what your dreams are telling you.”
If you believe these sorry words
If you accept this worry heard
If you allow your dreams to die
if you sigh, and don’t ask why
then I suppose you wield the sword
that kills your dreams.
The naysayers set it in your hand
but they can’t swing it.
So throw down the sword,
hold tight to dreams that stir you in the night!
Those dreams that feel so right,
that make you mighty, those dreams
to sing, to act, to write!
Practise each day, to hone your craft
in every way, no matter what the naysayers say!
Opportunity looks like hard work.
Luck is believing you are lucky.
Practice makes perfect.
You will move past eight, and if not yet great,
This poem grew out of a Twitter conversation. Diana Gabaldon said that she knew when she was 8 that she should be a novelist (she went on to earn a Masters in marine biology and a PhD in ecology before she got around to trying, though). I was 8 when I started writing stories, sharing them in school, and dreaming of being a writer. Rachael Hofford said that when she was 8 she was told by her teacher that she had no talent for writing and that she should give up that idea. As an English teacher, I know first hand that some of my students who dream of writing aren’t very good, but the only way for them to get better is to read and to write. Practicing their writing by emulating the best that they read will teach them the skills to become good writers. Maybe they lack a spark of genius, but it may come later with life experience. If it doesn’t, there are still many writers who do well telling a story. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. You may have to work very hard, and you’ll need some luck as well, but your dream is just as possible as anyone else’s.