There is a prompt in The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron, in which you picture your twelve year old self and come up with a list of questions they would ask you about the future and your future self. Next, you're supposed to answer those questions. It's a really neat prompt, and I had a lot of fun with it. It also got me to thinking about what kind of advice I'd give my younger self if I got the chance. So, I wrote it down. I highly suggest you try this exercise for yourselves (as well as pick up The Writer's Idea Book and give it a try), but in the mean time, here is my own list of advice for my twelve year old self.
1. Start saving money. Immediately. The world is going to get way more expensive, and it will be a lot harder to get started. Start saving for your down payment now, because fourteen years from now you'll have a mortgage, a dog and a job that doesn't pay as well as it needs to, and you're going to wish you had a lot more money put aside.
2. Don't listen to your auntie when you tell her you want to be a writer and she tells you they don't make any money and that you should do something else. The other careers you end up in don't make any money either and they don't make you happy. Stick with writing, you're going to end up there anyway. Your love of the written word doesn't fade over time, it just keeps growing. It's okay to follow the impossible dream.
3. If the popular girls don't like you, you're doing something right. I know you already know that, but I just wanted to let you know that you're proven right later on. Because you have a wonderful husband and a great life, and they're knocked up with multiple strangers' babies. Or in rehab.
4. Be ambitious. Don't look for the easy career, the quick fix or the simple answer. Dig deep. You have a lot of potential, so don't give up, tap into it!
5. I know everyone thinks you're lazy and that you have a bad attitude, but you're not and you don't. Well, it's kind of true (and that doesn't change), but not when it comes to the things you really want. Figure out what you want and go for it! Believe me, you'll work yourself near to death for the things you love. And if you start now, there's no limit to what you'll accomplish.
That's just a few pieces of the advice I'd give my younger self. And you know what? They're applicable now, too. What would you tell your younger self?