Unexpected Advice on Becoming a Better Writer Today
Back when I was twenty-one years old I did this thing they call waiting tables.
Rumor had it that if someone walked into the restaurant and sat at your table you were supposed to go up to them and ask what they wanted to drink and eat and then bring it to them. Then they left you money.
Simple enough. Who could complain? But no. It’s not that simple.
People want drink refills, a new fork to replace the dirty one, a seat away from the noisy bar, a little more marinara, their steak to be tender and not brittle.
The requests were endless. Not to mention tedious and annoying. As you can imagine I didn’t survive long in the restaurant industry.
And one might be tempted to look back on this waiting table stint as an occupational misstep except for the fact that I did walk away with one indispensable insight from one of the best waiters there: you are only as good as your last table.
To be honest, I didn’t really understand what he meant at the time. But those words stuck with me. It wasn’t until I became a writer and wrote regularly for a large audience that I got it.
What he meant was this: don’t rest on your laurels.
Let me say it another way. Don’t rest on your last wins because your future ones, if you keep trying and pushing and improving, will be better.
In my early days at Copyblogger I thought I had some pretty good articles. Lots of shares, lots of comments, lots of traffic. But some of the ones I’ve posted since then dwarf those early ones.
And it’s possible in one of my future endeavors my work will dwarf even my current work. But that won’t happen if I rest on my past achievements.
The same goes for you, too. So keep pushing. At least for the love of what you do.