I’m a Padawan and I’m ok with that.
It’s no secret I’m a huge Star Wars fan. And I often use lingo from the SW universe in regular conversation with people – because somehow, I think this is cool. (Please don’t burst my bubble and tell me it’s not cool to talk like a Jedi.) So now you’re stuck with a blog post related to Star Wars. Sorry. It just couldn’t be helped.
Here is the official definition of Padawan:
Learner; Jedi trainee.
I’ve been thinking lately that I might never get beyond the Padawan stage in my writing. Not that I’m down on myself – just that with each new book I read, conference I attend, critique group who gives me feedback – I realize just how much more there is to learn.
Except here’s the thing: Will I ever stop learning?
My answer? No.
Last weekend I met a writer at a meeting and when she introduced herself, she made sure to point out she was an ‘aspiring writer’ and ‘hadn’t published anything yet’. It struck me as odd. If someone likes to write, and they actively set about writing… doesn’t that make them a writer? Despite what credits they may or may not have? I did see her point, however. She feels she hasn’t ‘made it’ yet, that she hasn’t arrived at that spot that will tell the world she’s a writer. Therefore, the only other alternative is to say she aspires to be a writer. I totally get it.
After all, I’m shocked when someone approaches me at a meeting to get my opinion on something, and they state in passing that I’m an ‘experienced writer’. What? Me? (Quick glance behind my shoulder.) I mean, yes, I did self-publish a series of novellas, I’ve had a couple devotionals pubbed and I signed with a Literary Agent this year, but does that really make me experienced? Because I definitely don’t feel experienced. I feel novice. Wet behind the ears. Newbie. Pleb. Whatever you want to call it. I’ve been doing this writing thing for years and I still feel like I began yesterday.
I’m not the only writer who feels this way, either. An author friend of mine attended a writer’s conference I went to last month. He’s published multiple books, has a steady group of followers and solid platform, and he regularly speaks at writing events. Yet, on that exact day, he admitted that he was seriously considering throwing in the towel and giving up on writing. Wait, what? This guy – who in my opinion has very much ‘made it’ in the writing world – isn’t sure he wants to continue writing? (Ack!) What does that say about me? What does that say about the aspiring writer who has just begun?
It comes down to this: Every single writer – even the bigger than big ones that you salivate over while standing in Barnes and Noble (I know you do it!) – had to start somewhere. Every person who has ever written a word has been where the aspiring writer is; where I am; where my author friend has been. But no matter what level your writing career is at right now, you are further than you were a year ago. You know more than you knew a few months ago. You have brought more words to life in this world, than had been alive before you wrote them.
There may never be a day where I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal in writing – after all, there’s always something new to write. I might always feel like a newbie – attending conferences, workshops, sitting down with fellow authors to pick their brains, reading genres that I write and reading even more on the newest trends within the publishing industry. Because I want to live a life of learning. I want to be a learner.
I’m a Padawan and I’m ok with that.
What about you? Do you ever feel like you have a lot to learn about this craft? Feel free to leave a comment below! I’d love to know who else is in this boat along with me!
Happy reading, friends!