Friday, June 19, 2009

A Working Professional

Steve just posted something.  It might not appear directly relevant to the stuff I discuss here, maybe, but something in it resonated and it is running parallel to a lot of things that go on here.

"I'm a working pro, I've been involved in half a dozen major universes, doing TV, books, comics, game tie-ins, all like that, I've never spilled the beans before and it would be professional suicide to do so now. Why would you think I would?"

That.  Right there.  I am a working professional.  I get paid to deal with bad guys or to teach other people how to deal with them in high-risk environments.  There is a small chance on any given day that a citizen will get ambushed or targeted by predators. I put myself in that environment. For money.

A working professional in  Steve's profession knows about 'the bible'.  I know about P&P.  P&Ps change and are just as different as bibles; force laws change state by state by country by ROE. 

Steve gets impatient when a newbie writer who has a few Creative Writing classes and some time in a critique group under his belt starts telling the old man how to do it, or telling Steve that he's wrong.  Or that the leader of his writer's group has sold a couple of stories so the newbies opinion is just as valid as Steve's.  Too many aspiring writers take the classes and do the critiques groups and never have careers.

Same same.   Your years in a class or the people that you know who have won competitions or the fact that one of your fellow students or instructors has prevailed in an assault won't impress me.  I could make a list to parallel Steve's above- I've worked booking, max and psych, been ambushed and conducted tactical operations; survived attacks with knives and faced down shotguns, gone hands on in facilities, on the street in homes and in war zones ...  I made a conscious decision to quit counting my Uses of Force at three hundred and that was over ten years ago.

Professional writers don't think about writing the way amateurs do.  Maybe that goes for everything that clearly has hobbyists and professionals.  You do anything long enough, well enough, you start learning things that a hobbyist can't know- which editors hate stories that begin with dialogue; which religions and ethnic groups don't flinch when they see a knife.

And you can write, as Steve did, long pieces that are obvious to you but new and valuable information even for people who consider themselves 'writers'.  Also, as a working professional, you have a better insight into when someone is being stupid... and sometimes it buys you a plane ticket to Hollywood or a chance to statistically show that something your officers need is good, safe and cost-effective.  At least you get funny stories, even if only the other professionals really understand them.

Thanks, Steve, for showing connections. That is always good.


Unknown said...

Nice . Didn't make the connection, glad you did. Very applicable.

Steve Perry said...

Always glad when something I say proves even marginally useful ...

DRP said...