The first Wednesday of every month many of us follow Alex J.Cavanaugh’s leadership in voicing our writing insecurities…or the tactics we use to overcome them. This month I’ve decided to tell you about one of my insecurities.
Does everybody know what the difference between an Alpha and Beta male is? Let me define them for you, but before we get started let me just say that although common terminology generally refers to males when speaking in these terms, this could just as easily apply to females. Anyway, an Alpha is the individual in a segregated environment, like a community, who’s a leader, the person others look to for motivation, inspiration. Others follow and defer to this individual. The Beta is usually subservient to the alpha, acting as second-in-command. They are wingmen, collaborative and conciliatory. Although a Beta can be either a dethroned Alpha or simply biding his time until it’s his turn to become an Alpha, most of the time they are content with their status as number two.
Why is so interesting to me? In my opinion, Beta’s are what really makes the world go round, but they are hardly ever recognized for their contributions. Alpha’s may be trail-blazers, but it’s the Beta’s that put down pavement, widen it to four lanes, erect guard rails and directional signs. The beta has poetry in him, and a touch of youthful idealism. He’s sure of who he is, and not burdened by constantly trying to prove his value in physical or materialistic terms. Credit rarely comes their way, and that’s ok with them. Acknowledgement – yes. Recognition – No.
So who are these Beta’s? Me – I’m one. The limelight is something that holds no interest for me; in fact it unsettles me when it shines in my direction. I’ve mentioned numerous times here on my blog about my introverted personality and how I prefer to work behind the scenes to ensure that things are done the way they should be, while at the same time making sure that those around me who need it, get the attention they crave. I am comfortable with my role in this world and embrace it heartily. I have no high aspirations or lofty goals. As a result stress is a force that can find no purchase on me.
I believe that knowing and understanding your place in the world is something that very few achieve. Even fewer can accept. I thought I had accomplished both, at least in a small part. But recently I’ve been asking myself if a Beta like me could become a successfully published author. Is there such a thing as a Beta Novelist, or do I have to transform into an Alpha to achieve that goal? Can a person be a Beta in one part of their life, and an Alpha in another?
You’ve read the stories like I have…the ones about the long, hard, solitary struggles to become published -- written by a countless number of writers. And this isn’t a team, a group, or even a community craving that accomplishment…it’s just me. There is no “behind-the-scenes” where this is concerned, no valued partner or unsung contributor role to hide behind. And at the end of this battle-line is a reward that I’ve shunned most of my adult life…recognition. Have I set myself up for failure…or is this the point where an Alpha emerges to capture his one true dream?