Sunday, July 03, 2005

To the Pros

Dear Professional Writers,

Do you remember being unpublished? The struggles? The hopes and dreams? The lottery-win feeling when you finally broke through?

Hold onto that feeling. Don't let it go. And beware:

A sense of entitlement.
Jealousy and envy of those who have more.
A feeling of superiority over those who have less.
Worry over the future, when you're lucky to be here in the present.
Getting bogged down in the details.
Focusing on the negative.

Also, remember to give back.

This is becoming harder the busier I become, but I'm still trying to help others get to where I'm at. To this end I teach writing at a local community college, I read manuscripts that people send me, I recommend writers to my agent, I hold writing contests, I buy other authors' books, I write reviews, I give blurbs, I always answer questions, I offer advice in person, in email, and on my blog and website, and most of all, I try to be patient and understanding with those who know less about this profession than I do, and gracious and thankful to those who know more than I do and share that knowledge.

The further you get into this business, the more idealism you lose. The same can probably be said of life.

One way to hold onto that idealism is to never forget where you came from.

Stay humble.