How Will the Unfulfilled Dreams of Today’s Youth Create the World of Tomorrow?

Progress is fueled by the dreams of the young, especially dreams that did not come true. Children born into loveless riches will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to find the love they crave. Children born into poverty will often accomplish impossible tasks in order to have the security or possessions they desperately want. (Me . . . I only wanted to be left alone so I could read. Not exactly a great motivator to become hugely successful.)

I am connected to thousands of people all over the internet who had unfulfilled youthful dreams of being published writers. The sheer mass of people past their first youth (and second and third) who are now pursuing that dream could be the juggernaut that crashed through the boundaries established by the corporate publishers, bypassed the gatekeepers (agents), and helped create a whole new industry to service self-publishers. (If there is a need, there will always be someone out there willing to make a buck fulfilling that need.)

The present generations growing up won’t have those unfulfilled dreams of being published authors because they can sit down right now, write what they want, and publish it. They don’t have to strive for the dream of publishing — they can get it immediately. So how is that going to affect the future of publishing? It’s possible that the human need for storytelling will continue to fuel the book industry. It’s possible the unfulfilled dreams of the young will center more on making a fortune from writing, and so in later years, they will go chasing after corporate publishers. (Despite the myth of being able to make a fortune self-publishing, only a very small percentage of writers ever achieve that goal, and often the fortune comes when the self-publishers end up signing a contract with the corporate publishers.) It’s also possible the world will be completely different when the present generation of nineteen year olds reaches that age when their children are grown and they can indulge their dreams.

I don’t have a clue what this generation is like. Well — I have a smattering of a clue. In a recent article, You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’?, Paul Eisentein mentions that nearly a third of American 19-year-olds haven’t bothered to get their driver’s licenses yet. Some have no interest in cars, some can’t afford the payments, some have desire to deal with the outside world since they can find all the companionship they want via their various electronic appendages such as cellphones and Ipads. Whatever the reason for abandoning this automotive rite of passage, there is a huge difference between this generation and previous ones. They are just starting their journey, and the world will change to meet their needs. With as rapidly as things change, the gadgets that will run our lives twenty years from now have not yet even been imagined.

If you’re expecting me to provide a response to question in the title, “How Will the Unfulfilled Dreams of Today’s Youth Create the World of Tomorrow?” you’re out of luck. I don’t have an answer. I was hoping you did.

12 Responses to “How Will the Unfulfilled Dreams of Today’s Youth Create the World of Tomorrow?”

  1. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I’ve recently started following your blog and find your insights honest and thought-provoking. I do believe there’s something to be said for that long-held dream of being published. Mine has been ten years in the making and a lifetime of wondering “is it possible?”, and although I landed a small press–not a big fancy publishing house–it’s still a pinch-myself moment.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Well, I don’t know about today’s youth, but I can tell you that I’m still trying to go the traditional route in the hopes that I won’t have to resort to self-publishing (though it’s becoming more and more attractive as time goes on).

  3. knightofswords Says:

    There are times when I think self-publishing will wear out its easy welcome. I don’t mean that people will stop doing it; but perhaps fewer people will rush out an consider a self-published book that nobody ever hears about, much less finds in the vast Internet world, is an example of SUCCESS. Perhaps those who hang in there and find real audiences will be the one’s who’ll create tomorrow’s world. The rest of them will move on to something else without, as you suggest, having to leave the comforts of home to do it.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Malcolm, you make a good point abut those who don’t hang in there moving on to something else. Many people self-published after getting one or two rejections from agents and publishers, so I can’t imagine how they would deal with not finding an immediate audience. I also think that eventually people will realize how few people actually do make it in the book world, and will downgrade their expectations, which, come to think of it, might not change anything. Vast numbers of people are publishing ebooks as if they were blogs, not really caring if more than a few people ever read them. (Others seem to be under the impression that publishing is simply a way of getting feedback and suggestions, without going through the work of editing.)

  4. Liz Houlton Schofield Says:

    An interesting point, Pat. do we ever value anything much if we haven’t had to work hard to achieve it? Our biological imperative is set to do that…we won’t evolve if life is too easy, and maybe we shouldn’t?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      We certainly value things more if we have to work for them. If anyone can write any book, no matter how bad, and publish it, is there any reason to improve our writing skills? And does anyone but a few diehards even care? It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.

  5. ReaderWoman Says:

    My kids are 30 and 32. One is established, finally, in her life, but she has to work like crazy to make ends meet on her yuppie lifestyle.(she has two kids, 9-1/2 and 11) The other made a bad romance decision some 2 years ago, and is just now recovering – he works two jobs, 65-70 hours a week, to afford said car/insurance/apt. and has put off having children. Both of them are writers/artists, with no time to devote to their talents. I am afraid I don’t have the answers either, all I have is a lot more questions! Great post!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Maybe that’s what will keep the younger generations dreaming — not a lack of opportunity, but a lack of time. Working to pay the bills takes up so much of our time.

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