Plateau.

 

A few nights ago I had a great post-BJJ catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen at the gym for a while.

The conversation related specifically to how he felt about himself in relation to his progression with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his dream of becoming a black belt, which would eventually lead to opening his own gym, allowing him to make a living from the Gentle Art.

I quickly discovered that we were both on the same frustrating path.

Whereas everybody else in class seemed to be excelling at an exponential rate, improving with an alarming rate, we both felt that we had stalled. Somewhere along the line we had become stagnant. Our game became predictable, expected, and we became lost within the roll, rather than experiencing and learning from it.

For him, the relatively new blue belt, and myself, a single stripe blue belt for almost a full year, there was a harsh realisation.

We’d hit a plateau.

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What always surprises me from the lessons I learn on the mats is how applicable they are to my other interests and ambitions.

Not for the first time, a lesson learned through BJJ can easily relate back to my writing journey.

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Once You’re In, You’re In.

I’ve been taking the time recently to try and get this new podcast (which I spoke about here) in order before launching it into the world, ready to deliver you some aural pleasure.

In between these recording and editing sessions however, I’ve been making my way through a book, simply titled, ‘Getting Published’, in the vain, naive hope of finding a treasure trove of hitherto unknown information that would transform me from hopelessly lost, to an expert navigator, detailing all I needed to know in order to traverse the choppy waters of literary representation and publishing.

Purchased at the same time as I bought the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2016, another hopeful attempt at taking a semblance of control over my writing career ambitions, it’s somewhat fitting that the book was written by somebody who actually runs The Writer’s Workshop which, for long time readers of this blog, is the place I actually sent my manuscript in for some editing assistance.

Having read about a third of the book so far, I’ve been left with a pretty indelible feeling as Harry Bingham charts out the processes I can look forward to. From polishing the manuscript to seeking literary agents, compiling an attractive synopsis/cover letter to dealing with publishers, this book has already covered quite a bit of ground and, as much food for thought it genuinely provides as I read through and ponder upon it, it does leave me with one prevalent concern: just how in the hell am I, so insignificant and unconnected as I am, going to do this?!

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Feedback Monster; A Glimmer of Hope.

I’ve been getting dribs and drabs of feedback from the beta readers who currently have a copy of my manuscript, Temporary. Some of it has been delivered in a cordial, friendly, manner, other parts were provided in a very straight forward, direct, way.

Sure, a lot of it (the majority, in truth) have felt like numerous sucker punches to the gut; or, to make it more relatable to what I know: a choke finally being sinked in under my throat, after having been fought off so valiantly for so long.

Its had me feeling like this, captured so perfectly by my man, The Doctor:

Crucially though, whether the beta readers were providing positives or negatives all of it has been given constructively.

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