How to Make Things Valuable

A writerly pose. Notice the all-black attire, the awkward framing, the fingers brought to the temple, and the archaic writing tool. Yes, this man has deep, deep thoughts.

When I was younger I had this dream about accomplishing something amazing at a young age. Get hired by Marvel or DC Comics. Write a book. Serve in City Council. Invent a new Oreo. Whatever. I thought that doing something great at a young age would make me and that thing more extraordinary.

Didn’t happen. The things I did as a young adult were pretty typical. I graduated college. Married. Had kids. Got a job and a house. All good things and great accomplishments for me personally, but nothing the world was gonna stand up and take notice of.

Fast forward to now and, on the eve of my 35th birthday (still a week away), I actually have done something pretty great. I’ve written a book that could find a wide audience and change my life and the life of my family forever. That’s terribly exciting, but it’s nothing people younger than me haven’t already done hundreds of times over. Granted, my story is my own and unique and amazing, but I’ve read and heard about kids and young adults still in college getting these amazing book deals. Real prodigies. People who have accomplished so much and are so talented  and so young. That was supposed to me.

I’m so, so glad it wasn’t.

There is value in the wait. With hard, laborious, extended periods of work and pounds of sweat comes a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. I can appreciate what I have now because of where I’ve been and what it took to get here. My book has been through the wringer–multiple readers and people giving their opinion on what I’ve done and what does and does work for them. The “does not” is the hard part. Pouring your heart and talents into something for years and then being told it’s not quite right is tough and it shapes you. Thank goodness.

Now, I have a literary agent. I’ve written a book. Do you know how exciting that is? I do, now. If this had happened to younger me (and no friggin’ way he had the talent or the skills), he wouldn’t have appreciated it. There would have a been a sense of inevitability about it. A sense of entitlement that would have made the accomplishment less thrilling and less deserved. I’m glad that punk didn’t get this then. What I have now is more valuable because that guy was disappointed and had to wait and reconfigure who he thought he was and work harder than he ever thought he could.

I realize I haven’t really “done it” yet. In fact, I’m at the biggest crossroads of this whole process right now. The book is about to go out to publishers and then we’ll really see what the future holds. But everything that’s happened so far? Pretty big deal. More than most ever get.

I’m so glad I can see that fully.

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10 comments

  1. Brock, I have read much of your novel and was spell-bound by what I read. I can’t wait to have a signed copy of it in my hands.

    I agree. Too much success too early can lead to a sense of entitlement (in any endeavour). An attitude of gratitude makes everything we do feel so good. Best of luck to you!

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    1. Thanks, Norm! And good luck with Gil and all the well-deserved attention you’re receiving from it as it goes national. It’s so nice to see a strip that’s really GOOD get that kind of spotlight.

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  2. I’m 37 and back in the day, I had a successful career. But I wasn’t happy or fulfilled. Something was missing. Now that I’ve written a memoir and am submitting to literary agents, sometimes it hits me like a wave… the uncertainty of it. That at 37, when I thought I’d be prime time and making 6 figures, I’m doing something new. I was praying about it yesterday, and I know I did what I was supposed to do. I wrote the book. I know the story needs to get out into the world. But it’s scary to let it go and allow it to become whatever it’s supposed to become.

    I’m thrilled to have met someone traveling the same road, albeit steps ahead. Our paths won’t be the identical, but I find comfort in you and so many others who take chances and follow the direction they are led.

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    1. Likewise, Angie, I have tremendous admiration for you. I’ve never come close to huge professional success before now. I like my job and it serves me and my family well, but the stage I’m playing on isn’t very big. To have what you had and then do something different… well, I imagine that takes a very strong person.

      I can’t wait to hear more about your journey. From the little bit I know of your writing from your blogs, I don’t think it will be long now.

      Like

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