Blog 17 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- WHAT DRIVES YOU?
We are all born with different levels of the competitive spirit. Before I started writing novels people I knew have commented on my competiveness. Some would be complementary and some would be derogatory. Since I got some derogatory opinions I am assuming that I am more competitive than most. I know that it helped me in school and the workplace. I am not sure I was any smarter, but I bet I was more competitive.
Here's some advice to young people. You don't have to be smarter to excel. You just have to be more competitive. It allows you seize opportunities that are passed up by others. It may have been my hallmark as a businessman. The only regrets I had were opportunities I passed up because I chose not to compete. The choices are usually manifested when you either stand up and give your opinion without reservation or shrink in the moment because you are afraid that no will agree with you. This is when your level of competitiveness is tested. However, there is one caveat. You need the skill of language, articulation and communication to command the moment, and that's a practiced skill. The competitor will train himself by watching successful public speakers, and then try out what they learned when small opportunities arise before they hit the bigger stages.
The other day a new acquaintance was told that I am writing novels. I got the usual questions, but afterward I reflected on the conversation. That's when it hit me. The answer to "What drives your enthusiasm to keep such a long, solitary project going strong," is my competitive spirit.
It wasn't until I left the business world and my back wouldn't let me play tennis anymore that I really started to write with conviction. I missed the competition. So you ask, "How can writing a novel be competitive?" I don't know if I can explain it, but I write to achieve a standard achieved by the best sellers of mystery/suspense novels. Although that standard might be difficult to ascertain, you know it when you see it. I view it as a level of craftsmanship. So, being competitive is a good thing. You just need to learn to tone it down when the setting isn't right.
Next blog: Curiosity