Rookie to Rookie: Grow Some Legs and Pay Some Dues

Rookie to Rookie: Grow Some Legs and Pay Some Dues

Guest blogger, New Bern, NC, author Kenneth Capps

All writers have to, at some point, start being a writer and paying dues. Just because you’ve written a little book that you think is a Pulitzer Prize winner doesn’t make it so, doesn’t make you a Hemingway. What it does make you is a beginner, a naivest, a rookie, and a sucker. And that’s okay; that’s how everyone starts—at the bottom of the swamp, a lousy tadpole waiting for his chance to make it to the top.

So as a tadpole, what do you do? You relax, keep your mouth shut, grow some legs, learn as you go, and develop your talent. Don’t just imagine you have the talent because you feel that you do; allow others to confirm it. Prove it.

There will come a time in your writing career when your voice will be strong, and I don’t mean your writing voice. I am talking about the voice of a writer in demand. That is what you aspire to become: a writer in demand. That gives you clout, that gives you power, and that gives you the most important thing of all: options.

How you use that power will determine how you survive in the literary world. If you stand upon your talent, like a rooster on the dung heap and crow with your chest sticking out, you are not humble and your fall will be great. When you come to your senses at the bottom of the pile, you will smell the stench of your arrogance. How you deal with the odiferous smell of your stupidity will judge how fast you recover and how far you climb the next time.

Remember, it’s okay to be a rookie. Anyway, there is no other way. Beginnings are good things. But don’t be a stupid, arrogant sucker. Keep your volume down, learn, be patient … and the literary jungle will allow you to, at least, survive.

~~ Ken

Find Ken Capps and information on his June 1 release of Forgiving Waters, a cowboy’s tale of forgiveness, at 

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