I include below excerpts from a recent casual social conversation between a reader-R (in her forties), a child-C (around thirteen) and me-M. The goal is to encourage thoughts outside the box about starting a (money-making?) venture like writing reviews or doing something interesting and useful for their own specialty lifelong hobbies.
C: we never have enough money. Mom’s earning is like below the market rate for her qualification and experience. We are classified as living below the poverty line.
M: ok. tell me what you like to do and what you are best at? (addressing R)
R: i like reading. my only talent is reading.
C: but reading cannot generate any money!
M: yes, you can. tell me, can you write something?
C: mom cannot write one word. her mind is full of numbers and horror fiction stories (she is a graduate in economics, with professional qualification in accountancy).
M: can you write something, anything, just jotting down your thoughts as you read?
R: i cannot. i don’t know how to express myself in words.
C: she has never done it!
R: i can write good english. i scored high in english language. i have never tried writing reviews. i don’t know how to do it.
C: (started yelling in the background that her mom cannot write, will not write, and is not interested in writing words at all as she does not even want to communicate with her in words except shouting repeatedly a few short commands-all negative, for her to carry out).
M: (addressing the mother) ok. i suggest you start by reading others’ reviews. just do it. read and learn how others write reviews. since you have read so many (perhaps thousands) books, read good reviews on those books you like. start writing something about why you like or dislike in a book. write something from a different angle. your angle. read others’ reviews gives you the perspectives, structure, and essential contents of a review. send your reviews to me. i shall help you along the process. ok?
M: (addressing the child) ok. what can you use your best talent or interest for (in terms of making money)?
C: well, shall i start a blog? i am right now interested in stuff that cannot generate any money. i am not in the main stream. i like stuff others rarely like in my environment.
M: such as?
C: Well, i like football clubs that are way out here and i don’t quite like the local club. i have nothing to say about them.
R: the local sports writer is lousy. he writes poorly.
C: NO, MOM! he is good! he writes good sports writing! he is a good reporter!
M: ok. why don’t you start writing too? anything about what you know?
C: i can’t. what i know is noway compared with so many good football reporters/writers know. there are many many who know so much more than me. i cannot start a blog when there are people out there who know more.
M: there you are wrong. you don’t need to compare or compete or measure yourself with others. you measure yourself with yourself yesterday, one day at a time, always progressing in steps. today you are doing better than yesterday. at thirteen you know more than at twelve.
C: ha? i can do that!
M: from what you have been writing (poetry and short commentaries on football matches), you are pretty good at them. you have natural talent in the use of language and creativity in thoughts and perspectives. your imagery is rich and vibrant. i have always enjoyed your hidden sense of humor behind your sharp and accurate observation. you will make a good teenage sports commentator. send me your reviews and reports and i shall work through them with you. ok?
P/s While I was sending my visitors off at the train station, the avid reader suddenly remarked that she would write mathematics examination assessment books! What an insight! On the other hand, the kid thought of her own social media blogs with a more focused goal-targeting her own niche of one particular language speaking group of teen girls like her. The hurdle is she needs to further improve her communication skills in that language. On return from the station, I found a newly arrived email advising me of a job vacancy Associate/digital media/football in a global group in sports and entertainment. Certainly this is interesting and not a small coincidence. Of course I am not applying. But it does give relevant information and the kind of job opportunities for young people in the world of digital media.