Can't Help It


A mother was telling me about her son's plans for college.

"Does he know what he wants to study?" I asked.

"Absolutely," she said. "He wants to become a computer programmer and write apps for the iPhone."

I don't think kids need to know what they're going to major in when they leave for college. Colleges offer majors in fields that most kids have never been introduced to. Most high schools don't have courses in engineering, sociology, anthropology, or business. Even fields that students have excelled in in high school are very different once they get beyond the introductory courses.

I'm completely fine with someone going to college without being sure of a major.

I'm also completely fine with someone going to college who is certain of what they want to study.

I just don't think this particular student really wants to be a computer programmer. If he did, he'd be programming. He'd be writing little things here or there - scripts and apps - and showing them to his friends or posting them somewhere. His Mac or his phone would be filled with things he and his friends were playing with.

I have a friend who really wants to draw. She wishes she would draw more. Nothing stops her. She doesn't draw at all.

If you want to be creative, create.

If you want to write, you live in a golden age where you don't need to wait until a publisher tells you you can publish a book or article. You can post your thoughts to a web site like I'm doing here. You can publish your books on line using sites like Apple's iBookstore, Amazon's Kindle store, Gum Road, Lean Pub, or you can just post a pdf.

Then if you want to go to a more traditional publisher and they want to know what have you written you can show them.

Yesterday my sister texted me a recipe that she was making. It sounded like the characters in a children's story. In fact, it sounded a lot like a story I had read to my youngest daughter starring Strawberry Shortcake and friends.

I texted my sister the beginnings of a story.

"Sweet Potato packed a picnic and headed over to Roasted Kale's cottage.

"Roasted Kale wasn't at home.

"Roasted Kale was out for a walk with Red Quinoa."

Don't save everything for the big book you want to publish with a traditional publisher.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to publish that book with someone who sells to the stores and websites you want your book to be in. But in the mean time, keep creating.

Playing is good for you.

Playing with inconsequential, fun ideas is sharpening the skills that you'll use in your "real" work.

Somewhere out there, Sweet Potato is wandering around with a picnic basket looking for someone to share it with. Find her and hang out for a while. Swap some stories. Let your imagination roam. For starters, what is it she packed for lunch?