This is the kind of advice that makes Mark Twain feel like your wise and encouraging grandfather. And the nice thing is that it isn’t just relevant to writing, you can apply this to any part of your life:
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate.
Grandpa Twain had a good point. Why be around people who don’t care about what’s important to you?
I started seeing this belittling when I began my degree in creative writing. Conversations would be filled with “So what’s that going to get you?” and looks that seemed to say “Oh, you still write stories” as if writing were a child’s vocation.
My support came from writers in my degree and a select few family and friends that were keen to read my publications, and thank goodness I had that.
I can only imagine what would have happened if I had listened to my careers adviser and followed the path of a ‘real job’, or never learned that all writers have the potential to become great, just like Grandpa Twain said.
There will always be those small people who don’t really get it. But now I can acknowledge that what they say doesn’t affect me or my passion for writing, I can find plenty of supportive voices to listen to, and I can keep my ambitions ambitious.