“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”―
It was common for my business professors to quote Confucius and I always wondered what they meant by it. Were they jokingly saying they were sick of teaching? Were they challenging us, as students, to learn our way into a different room? Is it a simple statement of awareness of your own abilities and knowledge?
While I don’t think I’m the smartest person about everything, I have been in the writing trenches for awhile now and have learned a lot, especially about kidlit. So where do I get more? How do I grow from here? What room should I be in?
“Change starts when someone sees the next step.” -William Drayton
I have been following agents, editors, and publishers online for some time and when one of them decided to host a class I decided to sign up. It’s not cheep to buy a class from real professional, but when you’ve exhausted all your channels for self learning and free events it may be time to try it out.
So far I’ve only done a few pre-courses and I’ve already learned more than I have in awhile. In addition, I’ve gotten three new picture book ideas from the mini exercises. There is something mentally that switches in your mind to actually do the extra work because you’ve paid for it, you’ve assigned it a value. Therefore, if you don’t do all the work you aren’t getting all your moneys worth.
“A genius is a talented person who does his homework.” -Thomas Edison
I challenge you to take an evaluation of where you are at compared to the writers around you. This isn’t about being “better” as a person this is about knowledge. Ask yourself, “what else do I need to learn to more forward?” If you can’t get that from the room you are in you may need to go find a new room.
This isn’t mutually exclusive either, you can have two rooms. I do. But my expectations aren’t to learn new industry things in the first room, it’s to learn how to teach, engage, and speak (like my old professors). So in a way I’m learning a different set of skills in each room. In my new class I hope to expand my industry knowledge and up my writing skills too. Afterwards I’ll reevaluate what my next step needs to be.
What about you? What kind of room are you in? What’s your next step?