I've always been a writer. Creating characters and telling stories has been one of my favorite things to do ever since I was a little girl. In fact, my kindergarten teacher told my mom that one day I'd grow up to be a journalist. But things don't always turn out the way we plan. As I aged out of elementary school and went on to junior high, I stopped writing for fun. I stopped plotting stories and creating illustrations to accompany my narratives. I even procrastinated writing school assignments. The mere thought of writing was dreadful.

How did a little girl that loved writing turn into a teenager that despised the thought of sitting down to write a paper? One word: pressure. When you're put into a box at a young age and told that you should be this or that, a trade is made. Passion is exchanged for pressure and slowly, something that you once loved becomes nothing more than a chore. This is what happened to me. In my younger school years, I was praised for my writing. I constantly entered writing competitions, excelled on my annual writing exams, and wrote short stories in my free time. I can only attribute this to one thing; I wanted to write. As the years went on and I was told I should be writing more and more, my desire decreased.

I believe that children should be allowed to dream their own dreams. If a kid loves to write and wants to be a journalist or a novelist, then so be it. But a kid who can write like J.K. Rowling and hates it shouldn't be a writer just because they could produce the next Harry Potter-level series. I don't blame my parents or teachers for pushing me to get better at writing. I don't blame them for wanting me to become a writer and I don't blame them for my decision to stop. After all, their recent encouragement of my writing is why I'm even writing this article at all.

Fortunately, my desire to write has come back. I guess I'm one of the lucky few who can reclaim the one thing I once loved and make it my own. I just wish I wouldn't have missed out on so many years of growth and opportunity to flourish. If you're reading this, I challenge you to support the kids and teens around you as they're figuring out what they want to do. Let them quit sometimes and encourage them to try new things. Don't worry, if they really love something, they'll come back to it. At least I did.