Being a Pro Writer is Like Being a Pro Athlete

LeBron sporting the Jordan tongue
LeBron sporting the Jordan tongue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I'll never forget sitting in our hotel room in San Diego in July 2010. We had just moved in together, and we were taking a pre-wedding, post-move-in honeymoon for me to present at a conference and to visit my cousin who had just moved out there with her new husband. I got out of the shower, and Tim had the television on. There was Lebron James, on a press conference, telling the world that he was moving teams.

"Does he really think everyone cares this much about him to watch this press conference?" I asked.

"He does," Tim said, "and he's probably right."

Sports players have always struck me as self-centered egomaniacs who care more about themselves than anyone else. They think they are God's gift to the Earth, and they don't hide it at all. And all of their fans and their huge paychecks feed into the problem.

Last summer, the summer of 2011, I started writing more seriously. I wanted to get my name out there and maybe even make some extra money with it, though that wasn't the main goal. I started feeling like I was a decent writer, and I wanted to see if I could get some pieces in legitimate outlets. I certainly think I succeeded in many ways. I'm happy with that list, anyway. But the hardest thing was, and still is, putting myself out there. Even when my writing isn't personal, it's still a part of me. It's something I put time and effort into. It's something I'm proud of. Asking someone else to read it and validate that feeling in the form of publication is nerve-wracking to say the least. It's also somewhat humiliating to ask someone to publish your work. It sort of feels a lot like begging, in a way. Please, sir, read my work and like it. I think you will like it. What do you think? Did you get it? Did you read it? Did you like it?...

If I treated my pro writing career like pro athletes treat their careers, I wonder if it would be any different. If I walked around with my articles like they were the best articles known to humankind, maybe I would have even more success. Is that what the big names have that us little guys don't: A sense of confidence that allows them to say, Hey, you can take this or leave it, but if you don't take it, someone else will? When you have that kind of attitude, like you've got nothing to lose, I can only imagine that your writing would soar to new heights.

My goal last year was to get published in legitimate venues. Done. My goal this year is to be more confident in my writing. I have interesting things to say, and I have fascinating projects taking shape. People aren't going to want to  miss out on what I have in store.

Now, if only I can keep that attitude up...

Originally posted at Small Strokes.