By James Hellvig
With the holiday season past, we look forward to the upcoming year with hope and optimism. Like most folks, I tend to reflect on the past year and weigh victories and defeats. It’s a part of the human condition. What we mustn’t do, and what I am struggling to rectify in my own behavior is simply this…We cannot and should not accept ties!
In our relationships and our professions, tying is the realization of “good enough!” As a writer this past year I’ve done several pieces that, while acceptable, I knew weren’t of a caliber that I was capable of. I settled for “good enough.” Shameful and ultimately; lazy. Oh I have all the standard excuses…work pressures, family issues, personal problems, etc. but it boils down to this…I shrugged it off and let it slide because it was easier.
We all need a reason for the things we do, be it working, playing or writing. We justify the time, money and effort spent in each of these endeavors, allocating resources as we deem fit. Most often we place markers on our efforts by the tangible returns we see. In most instances this is indeed a valuable and time tested methodology. In matters of the heart and in our authoring expenditures however, it can be fool hardy.
As authors we work on projects and pour an enormous amount of time and effort into them. At some point, we do have to send these works into the world and allow the readers to evaluate them. That’s what story telling is all about, isn’t it? We will be rejected by some and accepted by others. It is a part of the process, but we need to honestly evaluate the feedback we’re given to improve our craft and hone our own abilities. More importantly, we need to commit ourselves to a dedicated schedule of writing, research and tradecraft that will consistently raise our personal standards.
Failure is completely acceptable if we’ve given our best in the effort. If we truly do that, failing is simply a strength building exercise for our next attempt! This applies in our writing and our life. To me, reaching a place of comfort where I’m willing to settle and say this is ‘good enough’ means I’ve accepted that I can get no better and do no more. To me…striving for the next level, pushing past the plateau is what life is all about! Digging deeper into the complexities of the human condition and ourselves is what enriches our experiences and widens our horizons…apply that to your writing and well…let’s just say, tis the reason.