Gordon Korman Shares How To Follow Your Passion

On the right is a photo of Gordon Korman in a grey t-shirt, wearing glasses in front of a grey background.  On the left "How to Find Your Passion" is written at the top, with "Gordon Korman interview with Small Bits of Happiness" written in the middle, and "top tips + hacks" written in the bottom.  Surrounding the writing are whiteboard markers and erasers.

In this BIT: We interview New York Times Bestselling author, Gordon Korman. He shares with us his top tips on how to find your interests, and follow your passion, regardless of challenges.

Gordon Korman is the author of over 100 books for youth and adults, and has sold over 30 million copies of his books worldwide. His genres vary from mystery, adventure, or fiction. He’s a New York Times Bestselling author, and has been awarded the Audie Award for Multi-voiced Performance. For us as teenagers, Gordon is especially inspiring, as he began his writing career as a teenager too – publishing his first book in ninth grade! As Gordon Korman is deeply talented, inspiring, and funny, in this BIT, he explains how we too can find what interests us and how to follow our passion. Overall, following these hacks can help us feel a greater sense of purpose and happiness.

SBOH: As teens, many of us may feel as though we aren’t good enough to pursue our passion. Did you ever feel this way as a young author?  If so, how did you overcome this? 

Gordon Korman: I was really lucky. My first book was actually my 7th grade English assignment. It was published a year and a half later when I was a ninth grader. I’ve certainly experienced self-doubt since then. (I still do, actually). But that initial taste of success right off the rip helped me believe in myself.

Young teenage Gordon Korman sitting at a table with a pen and papers on it.  The photo is in black and white on Gordon Korman Small Bits of Happiness interview.

SBOH: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned as an author?  

Gordon: To try to be patient. I had a book published when I was fourteen, but when I think back to that time, all I remember is the waiting part. It used to frustrate me no end. True, publishing is very slow, and that’s especially hard on any author, much less a kid who’s still in middle school. But something pretty special was happening to me, and most of the time, I couldn’t let myself enjoy it.

Editor’s Note – this photo is inspirational in itself, as it’s from 1976, when Gordon signed his first contract. He was in eighth grade.

Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly

SBOH: What are your top three tips for teens to pursue their passion or interest, without allowing worries or doubts from stopping them? 


1. Take the long view. Don’t let short-term setbacks derail you from pursuing your dreams.

2. Don’t forget the fun. Always keep in mind what made you love doing this in the first place.

3. Just because something is fun, doesn’t mean it won’t involve hard work. In fact, for many of the most valuable things, hard work and fun go hand in hand.

SBOH: You recently published your 100th book, The Fort!  What has helped keep your passion for writing going throughout the years?

Gordon: It’s nothing fancy. I just love what I do. Bottom line: I
make stuff up for a living. I’ve always been a creative person, and the fact that I can do that as a career makes me feel incredible lucky.

SBOH: How do you think one can tell the difference between an interest or good opportunity vs their passion?

Gordon: We all have dozens of hobbies and interests over the years. Your passion is the common through line connecting all those interests. Some of us see it right away. For others, it can take years or even decades before that true passion begins to become clear to us.

SBOH: Do you have any upcoming events, projects, or exciting news to share with the world?

My 102nd book, MIXED UP, was just published this past summer. Next up is SLUGFEST, coming in January of 2024.

Photo Credit: Gordon Korman

SBOH: What gives you a small bit of happiness everyday?

Gordon: My “old” fans. Since my first book came out in 1978, I have readers who are not much younger than I am. Over the years, fans have shared their books with kids and – lately – even grandkids. The thought that my books have hung in there from generation to generation makes me incredibly happy and thankful.

SBOH: What are some words you live by or an inspirational quote?

Gordon: Not all of my books are funny, but I really believe in the power of humor. So let’s go with: “Keep on laughing.”

SBOH: What is one food that gives you a small bit of happiness?

Gordon: A really perfect hamburger, when you’re hungry for it in exactly the right way, can be transcendent!

We hope that Gordon Korman’s tips inspire you to try new things, follow your passions, and keep working on your areas on interest, giving you a small bit of happiness.

Find Gordon here:

Website: https://gordonkorman.com/

Twitter: Gordon Korman


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