Swoon Author Devon Taylor: Keep on Daydreaming
I had a very surreal experience recently when my Creative Writing teacher from high school showed up at one of my events for The Soul Keepers. This particular teacher was one of those fabled wizards of education who, with seemingly very little effort, manages to have an immense impact on their students’ lives. From the time that I decided I wanted to be a writer in the second grade up until now, there have been a handful of teachers and family members who have helped sustain my self-confidence, giving me certain grades, making certain gestures, and even challenging me in certain ways that have all contributed to making me the writer I am today. But this specific Creative Writing teacher from my senior year of high school was, and still is, one of my biggest supporters. She even awarded me with a small scholarship for my writing aspirations.
When I graduated, I told myself that one of the first things I would do if I ever made it to being a published author is reach out to that teacher and share my excitement with her. And that’s exactly what I did. She couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear about my book deal, and jumped at the chance to invite me to speak with one of her classes. So, in just a couple weeks, I’ll have yet another very surreal experience as part of this whole amazing ride—I’ll get to go back to my high school, to the same exact room where I wrote bad poetry for the school’s literary magazine, and talk to a class of Creative Writing students about the craft and my journey and they’ll have questions for me and guys, I am SO NOT PREPARED!
This is one of those wild, out-of-this-world concepts that when you’re daydreaming about being a published author, you know is a long shot. Why on earth would anyone want to hear me talk about writing? Let alone a bunch of students at the same high school I graduated from, in the same Creative Writing class that I took over ten years ago now. Yeah, that’s right, I’m old. Don’t make me feel worse about it.
But here’s the thing... even though none of this feels real and none of it seems to make any sense, this is still one of those fantasies that you have to hold onto when you’re striving to achieve your goals in life. It’s a small component of a larger dream that still carries as much weight as any other part, and if you were to give up on just that one thing, it might offset the whole foundation of your accomplishments. I always felt silly thinking that someday I’d get a chance to do something like this, knowing that I hadn’t even come close to landing a book deal yet. But I never gave up on it. I never told myself that this one small part of my lifelong dream was ridiculous to imagine because if I had done that, then it might have given me an excuse to give up on the whole thing, and The Soul Keepers wouldn’t even exist right now.
If I can leave you with one little nugget of what I guess we’ll call wisdom before we chat again, it’s this: Everything you want is achievable. Even if it’s the thing you think is the farthest out of reach, even if you’re in high school right now and you don’t think they’ll ever let you set foot in that building ever again, let alone come back to talk about your career. It’s still something that can happen for you. It’s happening for me, and I promise you that high school Devon is flipping his lid right now.