Hubby and I were watching an older episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations the other night. If you haven't watched this show, it's a great series on the Travel Channel... but, I digress (surprise, surprise).
The episode found Anthony cruising around and exploring the true Boston, beyond the fancy hotels and sites. (One of the reasons I like Anthony is because he goes beyond the travel brochure.)
Anthony stopped by a boxing club and discussed boxing and its importance to South Boston. Afterwards, him and the owner of the boxing club went to a famous local deli for subs. As they talked, the owner brought up a great point.
He said boxing wasn't about learning how to beat the opponent. At least not all about beating the opponent. No, he said the bigger purpose is to learn how to "take it in the chin" and respect the opponent, and your own limitations.
It is not only about victory, but also humility.
Wow. Isn't that a lot like the publishing world?
Writing is like your boxing moves. Publishing the ring. You learn your basic steps on the sidelines, around the outer edges. With safe equipment such as the punching bag and jump ropes. Then, you start testing your capabilities in the ring with safe competitors and slow movements.
At some point, you have to sign up for your first real fight. It's bloody, and for the most part you're going to walk away rejected and lost. Stumbling out of the ring, you sit dazed, wondering what just happened.
It's awkward, embarrassing, and eye opening. But it's an important lesson. It teaches you that you are not as great as you'd hoped. It teaches you that the world is not just waiting for your entrance. And it teaches you that there are other, more capable and talented people out there.
It teaches you that success has to be earned. From hard work, practice, and getting up and jumping back in.