Apr 2, 2011

B is for Best

Who doesn't want to be the best? I know I do. I want to walk through a book shop and see my name over a big display of my novels. I want to be top of the New York Times Bestseller List. I want to sit in a cinema watching the opening credits roll on a movie adaptation of one of my books.

To quote Freddie Mercury, I want it all.

Not asking for much, right? ;-p

But I'm not the best. I may never be the best.

But I still keep trying. I keep working, keep learning, keep improving. I've always believed that a writer is only as good as his next book, so if you don't give 110% every time, you'll fall behind. It's a lot of hard work. Even when reading for pleasure or sitting back to watch a movie, I'm studying the narrative techniques, learning from those who've made it ahead of me. These people are my mentors and my guides, because they've had the skill and the determination to be a success.

Unfortunately there's no easy way to get better. It's a slow process and if I'm honest, I never feel like I'm learning enough. I'm always afraid I'm still writing like that innocent 12 year-old I was when I first decided I wanted to be a writer. But I want to feel that way. I never want to feel like I've learned it all, because I never will. There'll always be someone better, something to learn from. And I take joy in that.

But, to get me through my learning journey, I do allow myself some guilty pleasures, and sometimes you just need to tell yourself that you kick ass. So for tonight, I'm doing that with the help of Mr. Joe Esposito:


  1. Paul, don't we all dream of that? I want Colin Firth desperate to play my hero in the movie version of my novel! Well, I can dream, can't I?
    If I'm being realistic, I know I'll never make it to that display in the bookstore or the bestseller lists. Like you, I try to keep improving, to learn and get better. At the same time, I accept my own limitations. I'm happy to have an editor like my novel enough to say 'we'd like to publish it.'
    But I won't rest on my laurels, I'll still strive to get better.
    Look forward to your C post.

  2. If we don't aim beyond our reach, how can we ever hope to do our best? Jim Butcher once commented in an interview that the only difference between a published author and a wannabe author is that the wannabe gave up and the published author held on just that bit longer.

  3. I've been so lucky. When I was writing back in the 1960's, the first publisher I sent my first novel to accepted it (even though I cringe now if I ever pick it up!). On my return to fiction writing in 2007, it was the second submission that was accepted. So I guess I must be doing something right somewhere!

  4. Know where you're coming from.

  5. I don't worry about being the best of everyone else. I just be the best me.

  6. I loved reading this; Most of aspire to do our best, be our best. But we have to remember it is our best, no one else can achieve, our best!
    Alex I see, went the same path! Keep striving!

  7. Shelly: We're all on the same journey, just each going our own paths, right?

    Mary: Can't beat a bit of eighties rock.

    Alex: Amen to that.

    Ella: Our greatest obstacle is ourselves.

  8. I can relate completely. I understand that not everyone will like my writing so "best" is a hard word to qualify. Therefore quality writing is my goal. Thanks for a great post!

  9. Nicole: I'm a firm believer that if you try to pelase everybody, you'll end up pleasing nobody.

  10. Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic!


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