Guest Post: "The Path" by Sam Shelton

“What's the point of that?”

“You're nowhere good enough to even think about that.”

“You'll never amount to anything.”

These are a few of the things I've heard personally. Not only from the author standpoint, but with life in general, there are always a few who try to drag you down. My advice: don't listen.

I've always admired the great authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare. There's an essence about their work that is far more than simple words on paper. There's a certain beauty, a kind of magic, that flows with each sentence. My personal goal is to one day write something of remote comparison in elegance.

I'm not sure when it was that I realized I enjoyed writing. Possibly my fondest memory is from middle school when I was in my 7th grade year. The reading teacher held up 5 different photos and instructed us to pick one to write a story about. I knew which one to write about as soon as I saw it. A photo of a man, bald headed, craziness filling his eyes, glaring at a lump on the floor and ready to swing a chair at it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That picture could tell a million stories all on its own.

Our story had to be a minimum of three pages. Someone asked the teacher if we could write more than three pages, as it might not be enough. I wasn't even worried about the length at the time. I thought it would be hard enough to reach the three page minimum. Getting home from school that day, I grabbed a notebook, sat down in my yard, and began writing. ‘How long did she say it could be?’ I wondered, realizing I had finished writing a little over 13 pages.

At that moment, I was actually surprised with myself. The next day at school, I saw my language arts teacher from the previous year. Passing by each other, she noticed me and asked loudly, “Are you still writing? You should be! Don't ever stop writing!” Already feeling as though I had just successfully climbed the highest mountain by having written ten extra pages, her words seemed to get stamped into my brain. Those events gave me an interest in writing, and had me thinking “what if?”

High school presented several obstacles - changes as well as naysayers. They seemed to be in endless supply, and led to me nearly abandon the idea of someday being a writer. I began doubting everything I wrote, even my algebra homework, as silly as that sounds.

Now, in my 30s, I have one book published - believe me, there's no better feeling than printing out a 100+ page rough draft for editing - and more already in the works. Whatever your dream is, always work toward it, no matter what others might say to change your mind. Where there is a will, one can always find a way! It might take some time to reach your dreams, and there will be some failures along the way. But when you do, words cannot express how great it feels.

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