Turning Pro 1/10 – Ambition

This is the first post in part of a new digital book club that John Saddington is trying out over on the Desk PM community website. I still have to finish the 10 Days to a Better Blog challenge (and, oh boy, has it been a challenge) and now I’m doing this as well. The book that  the book club is reading is Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, which I already own (Mike, of 27 Good Things, generously offered to mail a copy to me when I guest posted on his website last year) and have read. Joining John’s book club is a great way for me to reread this book and contemplate some of the ideas contained therein.

In the section we’re reading today, one of the things Steven Pressfield writes about is ambition. My earliest memory of coming across the term ambition was reading Anne of Green Gables, when Anne was called ambitions for wanting to be top of her class and win the scholarship. I recall my then younger self not quite knowing what that word meant, but having a sense that it implied some kind of calling.

When you are no longer a student and making your way in the world, one question that you’ll repeatedly encounter from other people is, “What do you do?” It’s a question that is, in a way, a progression (for lack of a better term) from “What do you want to be when you grow up?” that you hear so often as a child. The first question is easy to answer if you have a job, but even in your own work environment you might be faced with this question from co-workers.

For myself, I want to be a writer. In some ways, I already am but I want to do and be more. I want to actually finish a novel (that’s in progress) and write more books after that. The hard part of this ambition is the actual doing – it is true that the easiest and hardest thing for a writer to do is to sit down and just write. At the same time, I feel an immediate urgency – as I have dreamed of being a writer, “when I grow up” becomes a crutch and it is something I can no longer lean on if I want to realize my dreams as a writer.


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