If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.
I am a writer. At least, that's what I am trying to be as far as my career goes. Okay, scratch that. I want to be a "published" writer, specifically an author. I use the quotes because I have some of my writing published, but I have yet make an income from my writing. Most of my writing that is published are poems on sites like "Fanstory" and "Booksie," which are websites for writers working on their craft, whether it be on chapters on books, essays, poems, etc. Now I bet you're wondering what lead me to want to pursue writing as my career choice, am I enjoying doing what I love to do as I type this, and how did I end up here, well I'll jump right to it.
I never dreamed to be a writer, during my childhood years. To be quite honest, I never focused on my career at five or even seven years old; I was preoccupied with being a kid. I was busy with coloring, playing outside with my neighboring cousins, getting dirty, riding go-karts and four-wheelers, and drinking water from the water hose. Then at eight years old, I had to grow up a little earlier than most kids. My parents got a divorce, and being the oldest boy, I had to step up and be the man of the house. My new concerns became: mowing the lawn, making general repairs around the house, excelling in school, looking out for my little brother, and helping my mom.
It wasn't until I was in the seventh grade that I began to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was in seventh grade when I began to dream. I dreamed of being a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a lawyer. I quickly learned that becoming a psychologist and a psychiatrist was not my calling, due to the fact that I did not like science, and I was not comfortable with prescribing prescriptions for people. This left my dream of being a lawyer open. It made sense at the time, because I came from a family of attorneys, having my uncle, Fidencio G. Garza Sr. be a recipient in 1986 of the TCDLA (Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association) Hall of Fame Award. I also loved to listen what other people had to say and make counter arguments to show people their flaws in arguments. Listening to peoples' ideas forced me to pick up a paper and pen to jot down bullet points, gather my thoughts, and take thorough notes, so I was constantly writing. Writing then become my escape, my hobby. That year a short story of mine called A Teenage Valentine was published in my middle school's anthology called Tiger Tales. Then, in eighth grade, my short story, "Man of the House," was published in my school's anthology. Despite this, I still had my mind set on becoming a lawyer.
High school came, and I became involved in numerous extra-curricular activities after school. One of the clubs I joined during my freshmen year was speech and debate. I participated in LD (Lincoln-Douglas) debate, which is a philosophical debate. I was a natural and enjoyed my time debating in an LD debate. My first debate will always be memorable because I lost to a seasoned LD debater by four points. Being in LD debate added to my belief that a lawyer was what I wanted to be.
During my junior year of high school, my uncle was caught with a fake ID that he used to try and cash his check from work, and was taken by the police. The fact that my uncle was also undocumented meant that after he served his time, he was going to be deported back to his home country of Honduras. During my uncle's sentencing, he had the chance to petition for clemency from the judge. People had the chance to write to the judge to try and persuade, granting my uncle clemency. My aunt asked me to write a letter to the judge on the behalf of my uncle, and so I did. I poured my heart into that letter. To make a long story short, the judge who was presiding my uncle's case was the strictest judge in South Texas. For example, if your minimum sentence for an offense was 15 years, she was going to hand you at the least 15 years and no less than that. It was thought that my uncle was not gonna have a chance, and that he was going to serve his minimum, then get deported. My letter was the only letter that changed this judge's heart. My aunt had told me that the judge had said that because of my letter, she changed her initial judgment of my uncle by reading my letter. She wasn't sure she wanted to read my letter because it was three pages long (single-spaced mind you), but after reading the first paragraph, she had a feeling that she needed to read my letter in its entirety, and she was glad that she finished reading my letter. Through my words, I was able to sway the strictest judge to grant my uncle clemency, and for the first time, this particular judge not only gave my uncle clemency, but also allowed the current time that my uncle had served to be counted as part of the time he needed to serve. This was the highlight of my junior year of high school, adding more reason to become a lawyer. In that same year, I had the most writing, specifically, poems published in my high school's literary magazine.
Going into college, I had the mentality of majoring in English and minoring in philosophy because the two go hand-in-hand with a law degree. My next focus was looking for a group of students that were part of a pre-law club at the University of Texas at Austin. I found a coed pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, and I attended some of there meetings to get the feel of things. The first few meetings were about the basics, it wouldn't be until halfway in my first semester as a freshman that we would hear talks from known lawyers. I had two English classes and a sort of signature course for the Gateway Scholar Program my freshman year, and I loved them because I wrote a lot in those classes. Sometimes, I was able to write about matters that interested me or I did research that mattered to me for an argument, and other times I wrote boring research papers, nevertheless, I enjoyed writing those papers. The time finally came when I got to hear from actual lawyers and what they loved about their career. This is what I learned: the most paid lawyers are criminal defense lawyers (no shock there), the most stressed out lawyers are civil lawyers, particularly family lawyers, and the lawyers that spoke at the meetings I attended all did it for the money. One lawyer in particular told us that one of his clients admitted that he was guilty for a horrendous crime, but the lawyer was bragging how he got his client off the hook, and made millions from doing so. I was repulsed and downright disgusted with the lawyer. I was now having second thoughts on my career choice of being a lawyer. Around that time, I attended to my signature course for the Gateway Scholar Program that was called, "Race in the Age of Obama" with Professor Leonard Moore. In this particular class discussion, professor Moore picked students from the filled auditorium and asked them what their dream careers were. Then professor Moore turned and faced the rest of his students in the auditorium and asked the following question, "How many of you dream of becoming career A, but are chasing career B"? It surprised me that about 97% of students raised their hands, myself included. Professor Moore went on to say that we were wasting our time for settling with career B, and that if we continued to chase career B, one day we will wake up and hate our job. This was all that I needed to hear, for in that moment, I knew I didn't want to be a lawyer, but rather a writer.
Thanks to my major in English and minor in philosophy, I wrote extensively for the next three and a half years in college, and I was happy. I even help brothers in my fraternity edit their essays and essays for scholarships. In the summer '16 (junior year), I took to Twitter, and for 365 days, I used the hashtag "LoveIs," and wrote down what love meant to me. It wasn't until after I graduated college that I began to write poems. What started off as a pastime activity became a writing project of mine. I made it my mission to make an anthology of poetry. It took me a little over a year, but I finished my manuscript for my anthology of poetry, It's All About Her, which is collection of poems about women and dedicated to all women. I tried to be very inclusive with this work, especially women of color. There are many types of poetry in my manuscript: sonnets, free verse poems, haikus, reverse poems, pantoums, and acrostic poems. Some poems are written in Spanish, for I must remember my roots. Some of the themes that I write about include: love, tragedy, beauty, women empowerment, and poems inspired by the 90s TV series Boy Meets World.
Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't solely focused on writing this anthology, I had to support myself and my writing, so I got me a regular 9-5 job as a valet attendant/porter at Austin Infiniti. It was an easy job, and when I wasn't busy or on my lunch break, I would write. No matter what, I wrote or at least tried to write everyday. I didn't have to like my job, but I had to love my career, but thank goodness I liked my job. I have submitted my manuscript to a few publishers, and now I play the waiting game. I also moved back to my hometown, and am currently delivering my local newspaper to people around the city. Again, I know it's not my dream job, but I have to make money to launch my career, and that's okay. I recently was told by my manager that growing up, her father said, "work is not supposed to be fun." This is why I am here, writing this. I want you, who is reading this to know that that's not quite entirely true. Work or aka your dream job/career better be fun, and it better be something that you love, because if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Right now, I enjoy typing this little piece, as I enjoyed every second of everyday that I was writing my manuscript. Life is too short to settle, so don't settle, and choose to do what you love, and you will be happy. Success will fall into place as long as you're happy. Money and fame are just an extra bonus. Dream big, and never stop doing what you love.