This speech by Robert Krulwich, whom I admire and who’s Radiolab podcasts always entertain and educate me while jogging…has so much truth in it – for all kinds of professions – that I want to highlight it and recommend you to take the time to read it:
“…go to your living room, sit down, and just do what you love to do. If you write, you write. You write a blog. If you shoot, find a friend, someone you know and like, and the two of you write a script. You make something. No one will pay you. No one will care, No one will notice, except of course you and the people you’re doing it with. But then you publish, you put it on line, which these days is totally doable, and then… you do it again.
Now I understand that if you’re married, or have a kid, you can’t not make money. And I know that it is not fun, it’s the opposite of fun, to juggle rent payments with car payments, to fudge medical bills, to play roulette with your credit cards, to have bills that must be paid month after month after month, that don’t go down, and I know about friends and siblings who didn’t go crazy, who didn’t try to become professional storytellers, who became normal things, like sales people, and doctors and teachers and are now moving into homes, buying real furniture and making you feel like you are slipping backwards in the world for the sin of following a dream. I know about that.
But let me tell you what I’ve also seen.
I’ve also seen, in my most recent area, science journalism, I’ve seen people do just what I’ve proposed. I’ve seen people, literally, go home, write a blog about dinosaurs (in one case), neuroscience, biology. Nobody asked them. They just did. On their own. By themselves.
After they wrote, they tweeted and facebooked and flogged their blogs, and because they were good, and worked hard, within a year or two, magazines asked them to affiliate (on financial terms that were insulting), but they did that, and their blogs got an audience, and then they got magazine assignments, then agents, then book deals, and now, three, four years after they began, these folks, five or six of them, are beginning to break through. They are becoming not just science writers with jobs, they are becoming THE science writers, the ones people read, and look to… they’re going places. And they’re doing it on their own terms! In their own voice, they’re free to be themselves AND they’re paid for it!
How they managed, I don’t know. Some of them worked by day and wrote by night.
Some lived with their parents. Some must have struck deals with spouses or with friends.
The people in charge, of course, don’t want to change. They like the music they’ve got. To the newcomers, they say, “Wait your turn”.
But in a world like this… rampant with new technologies, and new ways to do things, the newcomers… that means you… you here today, you have to trust your music… It’s how you talk to people your age, your generation. This is how we change.”
I am proud to know some of those people, who didn’t wait. You can do it as well. Start working on your dreams!