I was at North Park University the other day. After teaching, I had to stop by the IT office to have some software installed on my laptop. I saw a simple sign tacked on a cubicle wall. It was only an 8.5x11 sheet of paper in landscape configuration with a few words written on it. It was nothing special either from MS Word or PowerPoint. But it struck me and it inspired me. I took a photo of it and now I am writing about it. The message was simple and, to me, profound and encouraging. It said:
A Professional Writer isIt is very simple and oh so true.
an Amateur Writer
Who Didn't Quit.
It is my new mantra, motto, or whatever it is we want to call it. Never ever give up on your dreams, even if you are 90 years old and infirm. Never ever give up. A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn't give up. A professional musician is an amateur musician who didn't give up. There is no end to what can be substituted for the word 'writer' in this sentence. What should be substituted? Whatever one wants. Whatever you want. The sign resonated with me, it had an impact on me, because the word writer applied and appealed to me.
I am an amateur writer. Last year was the first year I got paid to write anything. That has continued into this year. Now, I have a business card that says I am a writer. That to me is cool. I have to keep at it. I have no choice but to keep writing. But, this shark has had a taste of blood and this shark wants more. I would love to get paid for writing more and more. I would love to get paid a lot for writing. I do not plan on giving up or quitting on this.
I belong to a networking group, BNI. Our chapter had a Christmas party in January with a secret Santa gift program. I was so delighted with the gift presented to me. It was a with paperweight or desk accessory (because really who really uses paperweights these days). It is a rectangular base with a variety of pens and pencils sculpted on it. The base has the following quote.
Either write something worth reading or doWhat a perfect gift. I am clearly on the side of trying to write something worth reading. I used to think I was not a doer because I did not do the kinds of things I thought doers did. Doers in my mind, led organizations or armies, they invented things, they built houses, and things of that ilk. Doers in my mind did something worth writing about. The best of the doers racked up deeds that were heroic or monumental. I was never a doer in that way at least not on the scale I thought I should be. I am getting more comfortable in the "write something worth reading" side of Franklin's adage. And... I do not plan on quitting. In fact, I got out a Sharpie and wrote "A professional writer is an amatuer writer who didn't quit" on the back side of the Franklin paperweight.
something worth writing
~ Benjamin Franklin
As I cleaned my desk today, I have the Benjamin Franklin paperweight with both of these messages on it front and center just in front of my main monitor. I will look at every time I sit down... assuming I keep my desk clean.