The Product Of Hard Work – The Climb #239

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The Product Of Hard Work – The Climb #239

Sunday 17th September 2017

There was a time when I got excited about birthdays.  Now they just make me feel old.

I’d not really planned to do anything for my birthday today.  I’d figured I would be knackered from yesterday’s tournament and would want a quiet one.  I was, however, determined to make it to Sunday Sparring.

Maybe I was anticipating some frustration from the tournament, but I strongly believe that success is 90% showing up.  I think back to the time I went to Sunday Sparring to find no-one there.  That right there was what got me my silver medal yesterday, not because I learned anything, but because it showed I had the right mindset.

Likewise today, despite feeling full of flu and knackered from yesterday, I still went… because when I get my next medal, it’ll be today that won it for me.

Unlike last week, it was a slow session.  There were three of us – Chris and I both having fought yesterday – but we did a variety of weapons and had fun, so it was worth the trip.  I even got to do some dagger fighting which I’ve not done before and it was a lot of fun.

Chris and I went to the pub afterwards for a quick drink and he said something that resonated with me.  He talked about my progress and how he & James were talking about it in the car on the way home last night.

I’d not really thought about this, but a lot of the people in the school have combat backgrounds.  They’ve either done sports fencing, or some martial art.  Some of those have been incredibly successful in their various fields.

I, on the other hand, am a product of purely the school.  I have no martial arts background to fall back on.  And whilst it might take me a bit longer, I’ve made incredible progress.  Personally, I attribute my slow progress to just not being a sporty person – or at least I wasn’t.

But it’s true… my medal win was the product of the last couple of years, and most likely the last 18 months.  The fact that people are now seeing it means a lot to me.  As I said to Chris, I like impossible goals.  He gets it.  He knows that if I shoot for the stars and hit the moon, I’ve still hit the moon and will keep on going.

There are a lot of people I can think of who have natural talent for this.  They’ve started, had early success and then plateaued.  That’s because, as Chris said something along the lines of, hard works gets you where talent can’t.  Talent can only get you so far, and then you have to work.

I had absolutely no talent.  People thought I would quit, people didn’t think I’d improve, and yet I’ve put in the work, enjoyed the journey and look at where I now am.  And whilst my target of winning Swordfish is certainly the stars, I reckon I’m certainly close to hitting the moon now.  And who thought that was possible?

I say this, not to show two fingers to people who not so much doubted me as have been pleasantly surprised by my progress, but to demonstrate something more important.

Talent will only get you so far.  If you’re a good writer, that won’t make you a great writer.  Knuckling down and doing the and work, failing and picking yourself up… that’s what makes you successful.

People say to write lots, and it’s true.  Because no matter how naturally great you are, all that is is a rung further up the ladder.  Sooner or later your natural talent will plateau and you’ll need to work.  You need to shoot for the stars so you always stay hungry, so the goal is always so impossibly far.

If I have one talent, it’s becoming laser focused on that goal and working towards it.

Take book 2 for example.  I’ve had some ideas of some of the multibook story arcs, and have been doing some research for ideas on how to make it not just good but amazing.  At the moment, I have no idea how I’m going to write some of the scenes I want to write.  But I’ll figure it out.

Part of my research has been watching some very obscure TV with some amazing acting.  I finished it this afternoon.  And it was amazing that I was so sad to leave those characters.  I wanted their story to continue.  I wanted to know that they were OK.

And that’s what I want to do with mine.  I want the readers to be glued to certain characters and their arcs.  It’s going to be so fun to play out the events over the coming years.

I didn’t do much else for my birthday.  I didn’t even play a lot of Warcraft.  I felt ready to go to bed as soon as I got home, but instead ordered celebratory Chinese and did some web site updates for the Wessex League webpage and the School of the Sword website.

So most of my birthday was spent being ill, but that’s OK, because I had a good day, and I’ve had an even better weekend.

Plus, I’ve been thinking to myself that after my birthday I should start the work on planning what I want to change in the next draft of Book 2.  I want to start the actual writing come 1st October but need to do a lot of secondary character work.

That might have to wait a day or two as I don’t think I’ll be doing much other than laying in bed all day tomorrow.  I think there’s a good chance I’ll skip training, and take the day off work ill so I can rest and get better.  And yet, there’s part of me that thinks that I need to show up, because my next medal could depend on it.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-09-18T12:07:55+01:00September 18th, 2017|Process, Swordfighting, The Climb, Writing|0 Comments

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