Yesterday in the mail I received my copy of Germany at War and Russia at War. While they were released a few months ago, having them in my hands internalized my accomplishing a milestone goal: becoming a published writer. Will you indulge me for a couple of minutes? I’d like you to join my celebration of this success.
First, I need to thank Zac Arnold who told me about the need for writers of encyclopedia articles for Germany at War. Zac and I became friends when my air wing was embarked on the USS RONALD REAGAN and we have remained so since. At the time I set the milestone goal to have an academic article published I had no idea how I’d accomplish it. Part of the answer is: not alone. It wouldn’t have happened without Zac’s help.
Next, thank you Major General David Zabecki (Ret.) and Timothy Dowling, professor of history at Virginia Military Institute and Associate Editor of the Journal of Military History. Editors respectively of Germany at War and Russia at War, they provided leadership, encouragement, and professional guidance. What a great honor it was to work with these two fine historians and men. MajGen Zabecki convinced me that despite lacking a degree in history, I am an historian as well as a writer.
I first voiced my desire to write when I was 16. While driving my mother somewhere, she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said, “I want to be a writer but I don’t want to starve.” Ever sensible, my mom encouraged me to look for a more “practical” profession. Little did either of us know that when the writing bug bites the wound never heals.
There are two kinds of objectives:
- Goals. Markers you set for yourself because you need to make progress in an area of your life.
- Milestone Goals. Achievements that change who you are.
Ideally goals are intermediate steps toward milestone goals. They assist your transformation.
It is fashionable in some circles to self-proclaim your identity. From that perspective if you want to be a writer you call yourself one despite lacking accomplishments in the field. I think you have to achieve something: an academic credential, a significant success, or tenure in the area, to merit carrying the title.
So here it is almost four decades later. I am a writer.
I hope you have had the joy of achieving a milestone or two in your life. As important, what did you do to celebrate your accomplishment? Tonight my family and I will crack open a bottle of sparkling wine over some scrumptious Thai food.
Thank you for letting me share my victory with you. More so, thank you for allowing me to be a writer.
What victories have you gotten to celebrate? Please comment below.
© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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