When it comes to the world of Young Adult (YA) literature, author Angie Thomas has made a name for herself. Two novels in and both have been picked up to be adapted on-screen, with her debut novel, "The Hate U Give", becoming a hit on the New York Times' best-seller list and in theaters.
Yet the critically-acclaimed author recently admitted that if she could offer her younger self any advice, it would be to "not be as fearful" and not be afraid to pursue her ambitions.
"For many of us, we let fear determine so many aspects of our life, and then we also let the opinions of others determine so many aspects of our life," the author said at a Southbank Centre event last week in London.
"So, I would tell myself to stop worrying about what other people think. I would tell myself that what other people think of you, is not your business," Thomas explained during the Q&A session of the "Angie Thomas: On the Come Up" talk.
"I would tell myself, don't be afraid to go after your dreams. Don't be afraid to simply speak up for yourself. Don't be afraid to look people in the eye, know who you are and decide that you are going to define yourself and not let fear do it for you."
With her second novel "On the Come Up" having recently hit the bookshelves, Thomas' published work is recognized by many in the highly-competitive arena of YA fiction.
Thomas' first book, "The Hate U Give" has been a major success, having received over 280,000 ratings on Goodreads — with an average rating of 4.54 stars out of 5 — as of this article's publication. In fact, even before it was in the hands of readers around the world, Thomas' debut attracted over a dozen publishing-houses to place bids for the book's rights in an auction.
It is this feeling of fear, however, which Thomas says may have hindered her from pursuing her dreams earlier than she did.
"Had I not been afraid so much, I probably would have written 'The Hate U Give' sooner. Had I not been afraid so much, I probably would have pursued publishing and writing — and started writing —sooner. I took forever to decide that I wanted to pursue writing, because I was afraid that people would say I wasn't good at it."
"And had I let that fear determine my life, I would not be right here right now."
Looking back, Thomas would advise both her younger self, and any other aspirational individuals to "let fear go."
"Fear does not lead to anything positive. It does not. You have to let it go and decide that your dreams are worth fighting for."
"So, I would tell 16-year-old Angie, that your dreams are worth it. Don't let fear tell you otherwise."
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