As a freshman in high school, I remember feeling like a little fish in a big pond, so it was only fitting that freshmen were called “fish”. I looked up to those big, wise seniors who were impossibly tall and more worldly than I, and I couldn’t imagine ever being like that. How does a guppy become a shark?

Well inevitably I became a sophomore, junior, then senior and I was the one looking down at the incoming fish, and I didn’t feel wise or worldly at all (though maybe I had impossibly tall covered). Had I missed it, somewhere along the way? Some seminar or rite of passage, some magic spell or machine that would transform me from a guppy to a shark?

Though high school is behind me now, I can’t help but feel like a fish again, staring up at those established writers and wonder, how do I get there? How is that even possible?

One thing I’ve noticed that the little voice of doubt has liked to focus on lately is my age. I used to see being young as something good for a writer–fresh, current, ambitious, wild imagination. Now I sometimes see it as a hinderance. While reading Ruin and Rising (which was unbelievable and I hope to get a review of the series up soon) I naturally admired her prose and creativity. On the other hand, I thought that some of that can only come with age and experience–broader vocabulary, more experience to draw from, a better grasp of worlds and cultures and people and relationships. How can I use something that I don’t have?

Looking up at them, they may seem larger than life and impossible to reach, but I might venture to guess that the view from up there is much like a senior looking down at the fish. Truth is, we’re all looking through a fish bowl, distorting our perceptions into reality.

There will always be certain things I do not have, and cannot have, that those with age and wisdom do. But there are also some awesome things about being young and inexperienced. And if the journey to the top of the writing food chain is anything like the high school one, it will be over before I even know it happened and I’ll look back and wonder, how did I get here?

Whether you’re young, or new to the publishing world, or both, it can be overwhelming to stand at the bottom of the food chain looking up. But everyone starts at bottom, and the only place to go from there is up.

10 thoughts on “Fish

  1. I never thought of the writing world like that. You know it’s interesting. The world of hip preservation surgeons is a very small world. One of my favorite hip surgeons, Dr. M, and one of the most experienced in the world, didn’t give a damn about what any other surgeon thought besides his predecessors Ganz (the godfather of hip preservation) and Mast. I liked that about him. Some of the other surgeons, especially the newer ones cared a lot more about what others thought. There’s a definite hierarchy in their world. Some of the guys at the top still cared what the other top surgeons thought, but not Dr. M πŸ˜‰

    I remember when I started fanfic I admired the authors who had really popular stories, and eventually my story became popular. Although by that point the magic was gone, and it didn’t matter to me anymore. It used to. It was something I took pride in. But I erased it all, and I realized it doesn’t define who I am.

    Maybe that’s why I don’t care as much about how other writers and readers perceive me. I mean I do care to a certain extent, but not as much as I used to. Maybe it’s just me being realistic, and for me to say I would like to write like McCarthy is like a theoretical physicist saying they want to solve Einstein’s “United Field Theory.” It doesn’t stop me from trying, but it’s an unrealistic goal, lol. In the world of original fiction I feel more like a seahorse doing it’s own thing πŸ˜› Maybe someday I’ll have a metamorphosis and turn into a fish :3 I can still admire the fish, I just don’t know that I am one right now. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that I don’t identify as a writer. I see myself as someone that writes for fun. Not sure. . . I haven’t thought about it much until now XD


    • Haha! I love your seahorse analogy. And that’s perfectly okay…it’s great to be a seahorse too πŸ™‚ Interesting that you said you didn’t care so much once you got popular–which I think is exactly what tends to happen. Once you are that “established writer” it doesn’t seem so big, when it used to. Well, and I’ve always identified as a writer. That is a huge part of who I am, I wouldn’t know how to be anything else. If you write for fun, it may be different for you. But thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts πŸ™‚ Best of luck, seahorse πŸ˜‰


  2. ‘Whether you’re young, or new to the publishing world, or both, it can be overwhelming to stand at the bottom of the food chain looking up. But everyone starts at bottom, and the only place to go from there is up.’ – This was brilliant, a great way to end that post! πŸ˜€


  3. That is so cute that freshman were called fish πŸ™‚ I, too, worry about my vocabulary and agree that the prose throughout Ruin and Rising was exemplary. Sometimes, like with Laini Taylor, I find it too much, but I think Leigh has a great balance. But that isn’t my style, and I have to accept that. Is this how you wish to write someday? That series was amazing!


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