So today I’m going to be speaking to a bunch of teenagers at my old high school. I’m taking some examples of my work, a copy of a comics script I wrote and a few other things. I graduated from high school in 1991 and the past twenty years have seen some tremendous highs and a few major lows, as well. But if you had told 16 year old me that I’d be published over 50 times, work for Marvel Comics, get to write The Avenger and The Green Hornet, etc., I’m not sure I would have believed you.
It’s funny how things work out.
When I was in high school I contributed to a fanzine called Infanity, Inc. (it was dedicated to DC’s Infinity, Inc. series) and I wrote some stories with a guy named Tom Deja — we even exchanged letters for a few years after. A decade or so later, I ran into him again online and we were once again in some of the same writing circles.
It’s a small world and you never know when someone you meet (even virtually) will eventually come back into your life. Given how I got my job at Marvel, which kick-started my entire professional writing career, that’s a lesson that I’ve seen repeated over and over again: networking is one of the most vital aspects of your professional life. Sometimes I even think it’s the most important. And it goes both ways — there are people I’ve helped get published after I got to know them and it’s always a nice feeling. Pay it forward, folks.
Wish me luck — I don’t normally deal with teenagers and I’ll be talking to about 45 of them today, LOL