Growing a Pair (or Two or Three)

I just finished reading an advance copy of Michael K. Rose‘s Chrysopteron. Well done, Mr. Rose! The action is non-stop, the characters are three-dimensional and the symbolism is thought-provoking, but not too overwhelming that you suffocate under layers of theme. I’m looking forward to the final version and a nice (signed *hint*) copy of the novel on my shelf along with all the other Rose classics.

In between reading Chrysopteron, Eric A. Jackson‘s A Blind Eye to the Rearview and a few other books, I’ve been counting my blessings that I have the ability and the drive to move forward with my own work-in-progress and the shopping around of Sketches from the Spanish Mustang. If I do land a buyer for Sketches, I’ll be sure to let you in on the secret as to why I decided to go down that route and tell you that I’m sure the novel is meant for greatness.

You see, it has something to do with P.M.A. (not P.M.S.) and I’m grateful for where I am in my life right now.

When I was in the military, I looked forward to the next rank just like any other. From about the mid-point of my career on, I tested for it, and when I didn’t get it, I would stew for weeks or months. But eventually I’d come around and see I wasn’t ready for the rank just yet nor the increased responsibility that came with it. In retrospect, I sewed on stripes when I was capable and only after I had long “plowed the fields on my hands and knees.”

In contrast, there were people around me who made rank quickly. They typically tested very well and came in at a time when needs were higher. Fast burners were often, however, not as ready for the increased responsibility. I’m not saying all people who made it early weren’t ready, but that was the norm.

Experience matters more to me than luck or good testing ability.

The writing career is the same, I think. We all want to jump right out and say our freshman effort is the best in the world. We expect reward for our time in the fields, and when it doesn’t happen, we might stew for weeks or months (or years). That’s normal. It’s part of growing up through the ranks, so-to-speak, and it doesn’t matter if you’re self-published or traditionally published. When our sophomore or junior efforts are not received well either, we might stew again. However, I believe we can accept those things we cannot change and be grateful we are, in fact, writing at all.

It’s all about P.M.A.

As we write, we grow. There is a world of difference between my own freshman effort (the never-to-be-published-unless-I-rewrite-the-whole-thing A Difficult Mirror), my sophomore effort (Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors) and the latest Sketches from the Spanish Mustang. Even between Sketches from the Spanish Mustang and my work-in-progress, Driving the Spike, differences abound. Growth, I feel, is apparent in the words, the feelings, the capture of emotion and other elements of structure as specific as Point of View and voice.

What about you? Do you see growth as you write, as you publish, as you move forward through the fields of your career?


2 comments on “Growing a Pair (or Two or Three)

  1. Great post, Benjamin. There has absolutely been progress and change in my work over the years. Part of it is an advance in skills (those darn problem words I go hunting for seem to be fewer and fewer with each new manuscript), but changes also come with age and experience (experience reading others work, among those). Lately, I find myself consciously wanting to adjust my style with each new work, striving to be a little different, a little better.
    Hopefully it’s working.
    Everything about writing is a marathon, not a sprint, from the completion of a manusript to finding your level of success in publishing. Anyone who expects to release a book or two and become famous may as well buy a lottery ticket while they’re at it.

  2. Pingback: The Writer’s Marathon | Guild Of Dreams

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