Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Professional vs. Amateur

I speak to you from the great mountain...of boxes. We moved again over the weekend, into our newly purchased home. I'm really glad to be in it and out of the other one, but the difference between the move from Utah to Arizona and this one is very pronounced. In that previous move, the relocation company sent packers one day and then came and loaded the truck the next. Three people took one day to pack up an entire house. Our stuff took 1/4th of the room on an 18 wheeler, packed precisely and carefully by men who were professionals. We sat in awe as they dismantled furniture, moved my way-too-heavy-for-its-size piano, and basically had my husband and I scurrying around like rats in a cage trying to keep ahead of them and not let them pack trash we hadn't picked up yet. As it is, I still have a couple of boxes with things that I'm not sure I wanted to keep anyway.

Now contrast that with my weekend move. I struggled to find boxes to pack up stuff (oh, did I mention that the movers came back a few days later and took away all the boxes and paper? Very nice.). Our very wonderful ward that we were leaving offered to help, which is amazing, considering that it was the High Priests and not the Elders doing it. I was scrambling yet again, but this time I didn't have the luxury of leaving my kids at my mother's house while I took care of things. I probably told my 4 year old to stay off the ramp to the Uhaul 40 times. No exaggeration. What made things even more challenging is my 15 year old daughter was gone to Phoenix all day Saturday (a 3 1/2 hour drive), so I had no female help. Just me and a bunch of enthusiastic, amateur movers. Don't get me wrong. I am extreeeeeeemely grateful for them. There's no way we could have done that on our own.

Most of my problems now on the unpacking stage show my lack of preparation, my amateur status, if you will. I forgot to label boxes, especially those I packed as the movers where hauling things out. Because I had such a hard time finding boxes (no one told me that all I needed to do was go to one of the 2 recycling centers in town to get some), my daughter didn't get as much done on her room as she was supposed to. I think I about fainted when I went into the room the girls share and realized how much WASN'T done. Ultimately we ended up leaving half her things until Monday before we went back and picked it up.

Because boxes weren't labeled, they didn't get to the right rooms on this end of the move. My family room is a pile of boxes and furniture that need a home, and have a rooms already confused. We haven't put any beds up except for one, which moved almost intact. I've lost my phone recharger and my cell is our only link to our home phone which forwards to it when the Vonage is offline. I had to leave my cell in the car overnight to recharge. I also use it as an alarm clock since my cheapy 5 dollar clock bit the dust a month after we moved here. And I get up at 5:30 am, so an alarm is a very good thing. Yesterday I had to mail something very important. I had no idea where envelopes or stamps were. I knew where they WERE in the old house, but was any one's guess.

You think this rant is all about moving. (I do too, but here's my point.) I've read so many books and articles and blog posts and newsletters talking about how to be a "professional" writer, and what that actually means. But when it boils down to it, you know what I think the difference is? Practice.

Practice at writing. Practice at self discipline. Practice at research. Practicing good grammar and spelling. Practice. Even if I did all those things and never got published, I would still consider myself a "professional" writer, because it would be something that I had perfected the mechanics of. I would hope after all that effort and practice I would be published, but that is left in the hands of others. What I can do, what I can control, is there, waiting for me to do my part to grow and get better. And ultimately, isn't that what we're here for? To grow and perfect ourselves with the Savior's infinite power, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

Just for the record, though, I never want to become a professional mover. Just sayin'.


  1. Lol! I feel your pain! I moved over the summer and I know exactly what you mean. Another conclusion that can be drawn from your analogy is that not only have the professional movers had a lot of practice, but they had made a lot of mistakes. Maybe not all the mistakes were made personally, but at sometime in the course of the company, when a problem or mistake happened, a new policy was probably written to help everyone else avoid that same mistake. Likewise, as writers we need recoggnize that mistakes, rejection, and amateur behavior is all a part of the learning curve that will turn us into professionals. We can also learn from other writers and avoid the mistakes they made. Thanks for your moving story. I love being able to find analogies in everyday life that help us to learn a lesson or just expand our understanding.
    (Good luck with the unpacking! I still have boxes I just don't want to think about unpacking!)

  2. I dislike moving. (I wanted to use a stronger word, but controlled myself!) And I so agree with you. Practice does make perfect!



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