I was recently struck by the sense of entitlement that permeates our society. What ever happened to earning the things we want or even need?
Don’t get me wrong…I know there are plenty of people out there who believe in the value of hard work and who are teaching their children the same lesson. But a segment exists across all cultures that is convinced that everything should be given to them on a silver platter.
My parents raised my brother and myself to work. To work hard. They taught us that we “could do anything we set our minds to if we wanted it badly enough”. That message has stayed with me as I grew older and actually grows stronger each year. While the message is strong and vital on its own, I believe the underlying principle to be humble in our efforts carries even more weight.
None of us should be self-deprecating when we’re working hard to accomplish something important to our individual goals. We shouldn’t undermine our efforts by downplaying the importance of them. However, we should be willing to do whatever it takes (within legal means, of course!) to reach those goals. If that means late nights at the computer or sacrificing an evening out with friends to write, so be it.
I suspect most of us have held a day job at some point. Many of us still do. When we entered the career world, it’s likely that our first position was low on the totem pole. Experience, hard work, and loyalty may have brought advancement. Some of us may have chosen to leave our original career choice behind to pursue another interest. And we started over in that field.
Writing is a job. To achieve success, we must pay our dues. We squeeze writing into our schedules, editing even when we hate it, participating in critique groups to gain valuable feedback and education. If we’re wise, we listen to those who’ve advanced further as writers and soak up the knowledge they so willingly share (and isn’t it wonderful that writers support each other!).
The life we are given is a gift. As soon as we’re old enough to do for ourselves, we start earning…an allowance, TV time, that sweet little bicycle every kid dreams of. When we’re old enough, we get a job to earn spending money. Good grades are the result of doing our homework and studying for exams. We complete school and enter the work force to earn the money to pay our bills, buy our groceries, and save for play time. The stronger the work ethic, the greater the reward.
We are not entitled to any of these things. All of them can be taken away in the blink of an eye through a bad economy, poor choices, or delusions of grandeur.
We have to earn our goals. We earn the title of “Writer” by writing.
Solid effort and a strong work ethic are vital if we want the earn the title of “Author”.
I’m prepared to bust my butt for that second title.
What about you?