Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Professional Envy

I'm fired up. Not in a bad way, mind you, but in a very positive manner. First, a good friend and peer from my writing group announced the sale of her novella today. No one works harder than she does, and she's beginning the see the fruits of her labor. She is the third associate of mine in recent weeks to get their first sale.

Steven King once wrote that you needed talent to succeed as a writer. He then said that you would know if you were talented if someone were willing to pay you for your work.

I'm not jealous of their success, completely the opposite as a matter of fact. I'm excited for their success. For two of them, I provided critiques or betas for their stories before they went to final draft and sale. There's a great deal of satisfaction to be taken from getting a teammate across the finish.

My envy, frustration, or whatever you call it, stems from my disappointment in my progress over the last few months. From a writing aspect, I feel stalled. My obligations to the Army are at an all time high. I get up and five in the morning and come home at seven or eight at night. The family responsibilities kick in, and sometimes I have to sleep. Next thing you know, several days travel by with no progress made on any writing projects.

This wasn't a surprise. I'm an Iron Major. It's the nickname we give officers in similar positions expected to pull the lion's share of an organizations load. It's the busiest time of my career. Doing well in this job is critical to my long range goals and retirement.

So I knew back in January when I took this job that I wouldn't get as much writing done as I'd like. Goals were scaled back. Expectations, lowered. This year's singular objective: get paid for a piece of work. Any work. As stated earlier, meet Stephen King's definition of talented.

My professional envy comes from respect. This isn't a case of thinking my kung fu is stronger than theirs. This is about me sitting on my thumbs and biting my lip because I know I'm capable of moving to the head of the class.

It does get harder watching the success of good friend, knowing I'm intentionally throttling back while they move forward. I want them to keep moving forward. The more success my peers experience, the more I burn to meet them at the ladder.

My time will come.

So, this next week. Vacation. Not really. We're putting in a new kitchen and bathrooms. Plus, I'm the Iron Major; getting yanked back into the office to pull someone's bacon out of the fire is inevitable. Don't feel bad for me, remember, I asked for this.

But, by Saturday, 15,000 new words on the YA rewrite. FIFTEEN THOUSAND. I'm calling it here. I'm motivated. Blame Julie.

See you next week.


Selestial said...

Haha YES! It is totally my fault. Muahahahahaha!

Seriously though, you are doing great. You have a crazy job and you're still getting writing done. AND you're learning the business.

You follow my blog, dude. This isn't my first rodeo. I've been bucked off quite a few times over the past couple years. Stomped on even.

You'll get there :)

Quite honestly, you're too stubborn not to :P

(And if it helps, that was said about me too LOL)

LOL - Word verification = recon (do they have a setting to make them military words? Because if so, that rocks!)

Angela Addams said...

I know how you feel. Unfortunately I don't think the envy goes away no matter what goal you succeed at. There's always someone who is doing better. You've got a great attitude though...using it to motivate...that's my tactic too and it's worked well for me.

Jessica Peter said...

I think it's pretty impressive to be getting ANY writing while doing what you do! If you want to try to get paid to legitimize your writing, might I suggest something small? Along with my novel (and 2 short stories/novelletes/novellas depending), I've written a couple travel articles and sold them! Maybe travel isn't your thing, but "short" sales worked to make me feel good while working on longer pieces.

Danielle La Paglia said...

I know exactly how you feel. I am so excited for our friends/writing buddies. My own writing is on hold while I take a step back and study the craft. I feel like I'm stuck at the starting gate, while they're crossing the finish line, but I remind myself that they've been at it a lot longer. My time will come and so will yours.

Michelle said...

I've read your stuff. And your time will come.

Life has a way of getting in the way, or so it seems sometimes.

Diane Girard said...

Your honesty becomes you, but don't underestimate what you have done already.
There are times when I too have some professional envy. A very good friend and fellow writer is finally getting the recognition she deserves. I'm extremely glad and proud for her, but still I wish I had some too. I know that I need to be more presistent and that means collecting more rejections along the way. That stinks, and I always pause when I get one. I hope to overcome that.
I think you have a great work attitude and wish you success.

Kelly Metz said...

I have every bit of faith in you. You are incredibly talented, and its only a matter of time. You are juggling so many things, and it takes hard work to keep all that going. Have fun with it, keep pushing for it. It will come.

Pat Hollett said...

I love your honesty! Reading your blog brings to mind several things, but not the least of which is that you have a very demanding career, a busy home life (always something to do there), and then the ambition and desire to be a successful writer too. You obviously are goal oriented and very ambitious to take on so much, and I salute you for that. It's inspiring to see someone who doesn't let life coast by, and no you're not Superman (although everyone thinks you are), but you'll succeed, because you won't let yourself fail. You have the determination, the drive and the discipline necessary for all aspects of your life.
Your family is lucky to have such a good role model.
You will get published! You have the tenacity to do everything you set out to do! :)