Tuesday, January 08, 2013
When Success Blows By and Doesn't Stop for You
Saw where another acquaintance landed a book contract with a New York publisher, and she was over the moon excited. Another author acquired a new agent with a highly reputable literary agency. Yet another won an award I've always craved. I was happy for all, and sent them messages accordingly.
By now, I wasn't jealous. I was depressed. And I was ashamed I'd felt either emotion. Which made me sad. Now my evening was bummed.
And I dare say that every writer on the planet has had these sorts of feelings at one point or another.
Writers work their butts off. We are some of the hardest working, least recognized, most overlooked professionals in the universe. We stoop over keyboards typing, deleting, retyping, cursing, getting up, then coming back, still hunting for the write phrase.Then we market the best ways we can, reaching out to whomever we can, letting people know what our writing has meaning. Praying someone notices. Ecstatic when it isn't rejected.
Then someone promotes better than we do, making record sales.
Someone wins awards we didn't know existed.
Someone sells a story idea we knew would be good, if we could have found a publisher.
Someone creates a gorgeous website we wish we could afford.
Someone manages a daily blog we'd never have the time to master. How the heck does he come up with so many ideas anyway?
Someone has a spouse to pay the bills while she writes, while we can't afford to write full-time.
Some days we float on words that make perfect sense. Our writers group sings our praises on Wednesday night, calling the piece our best work. Maybe an email says we write beautifully, and the reader stayed up all night finishing the book. An editor calls, saying she'll drop a contract in the mail for a piece we pitched six months ago, and actually pay us for the article. A new five-star review on Amazon.We ride so high, understanding now why we became writers.
So, so high.
And on other days we feel we're doing everything wrong.
Every single, solitary writer on the planet has had a day of doubt. Some have weeks. Some profess more. Those are the days that test you. Those are the times that force some writers to walk away and others to show their fangs in blame of others for the day's lack of productivity, lack of acknowledgement.
Lack of love.
All that success happening around us, and none of it ours. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Let yourself be down. Eat your tub of ice cream and watch a tear-jerker movie. Wallow in self-pity for a while, long enough to get over yourself. Take a nap or go to bed.
Then get up, go to your words, and put them together again. Dabble at your craft and enjoy turning phrases. Ditch all the ill-will back in the recliner where you called yourself a horrible writer, and come out to play. Remember why you write. Shiver at a great sentence. Read a paragraph aloud to a good friend. Spin stories in your head while you go through the day. Keep coming back. One word in front of the other. Keep coming back.
Because one day success will blow by, and stop to kiss you, too.