I have a friend who carries a plastic spoon and fork around in his shirt pocket. When asked why said cutlery is part of his attire, he responded, “I never know when I’m going to meet up with some food.”
He chuckled, and then added, “You never know when preparation will meet opportunity. And I want to be ready.”
Confucius, eat your heart out. Especially if you have a plastic fork and spoon in your pocket.
Had I not just recently stumbled across a picture of myself, I’d be tempted to adopt my friend’s policy. But the picture was troubling…to say the least. Either I’m smuggling a ham in the front of my shirt or I need to call Jenny Craig. And I don’t remember smuggling any pork products. Therefore I’ve deduced that I haven’t been one to miss any cuisine consuming opportunities. Therefore, I will NOT be carrying silverware around in my pockets.
But I will take his saying and apply it to my writing journey. His “proverb” is very wise counsel indeed for the aspiring writer. I want to stuff my pockets with wisdom gained by experience. I want to work hard to learn AND apply the tools of the trade so that I can be ready when an opportunity to take the next step comes my way. But I can’t just sit around and wait for opportunity to seek me out. No siree, Bob (or Bob-ette)! I’m going to write…and write…and write some more, so that when the door of publication is opened for me, I can step through it.
It means that I can’t just start novels. I have to finish them. I need to have a few completed manuscripts “in my pocket” so that agents and publishers will know that I’m able to work hard and long. I want to show that I can last beyond the adrenaline rush that propelled me through the first few chapters.
Being a good steward of story means that we do the hard work of getting and staying prepared.
Are you prepared to meet opportunity? How do YOU stay prepared? Or, what is keeping you from being prepared? Please share your thoughts.