Here we are. January 1, 2010. The first day of a new year. The first day of my new attitude.
After a difficult year, personally and professionally, I’ve decided to attack life by living it. This means shedding my all-work-no-play mentality in dogged pursuit of a dream. It won’t be easy because: A) I’m a creature of habit, and B) the dream to earn my living solely as a writer still burns bright.
I’m not giving up, but I am adjusting my expectations. This includes altering my idea of ‘success’.
I’ve spent the last fifteen years working my butt off to achieve certain goals in my writing career. My dedication and perseverance paid off in many ways, but not in all the ways I had hoped. Typically I’m an optimist, but in 2009 I was a first-class pessimist. I focused on the negative aspects of my writing career. On everything that had gone wrong or hadn’t panned out. Instead of celebrating my achievements, I wallowed in what I perceived as my failures. Let me tell you, I wallowed big time.
A couple of weeks ago, in a moment of deep depression, I actually voiced my darkest thought to my husband. “I feel like a failure.”
I couldn’t believe those words left my mouth.
In reality, everything that had gone wrong or hadn’t panned out for my books was out of my control. In reality, luck and the current state of publishing weren’t on my side. My less-than-stellar-sales and status in the publishing world are not a reflection of my writing. The logical side of me knows this. But the dreamer . . .
My husband quickly and calmly pointed out that I haven’t failed. He added that, quite frankly, he’s amazed by all that I’ve achieved. It was the kindest and wisest thing he could have said because in that moment, I got it.
When I started writing fifteen years ago, I had no formal training. I was a professional performer. All of my training and experience was in musical entertainment. But I attacked my new passion, my new dream of being a published author with a vengeance. I joined writers’ organizations. I read books on craft and business. I attended workshops. I wrote day-in-day out. I submitted my work to publishers and agents over and over. I endured rejection over and over. Until one day . . .
First I published with a small press print publisher—three books co-written under the name CB Scott. Then I signed solo with Medallion Press—six books. Four of these resulted in foreign sales, all garnered fabulous reviews, including a positive nod from Publishers Weekly. Then I signed with my current dynamo agent, Amy Moore-Benson. Next came a three book contract with HQN (Harlequin). More stellar reviews and awards. Fan mail! Appearances at major trade shows and conferences. Another two-book contract with HQN.
To date, I’ve written and published fourteen books (including the two that are due for release this year). I’ve averaged two books a year for the last six years… while working a fulltime day gig. All of these books have been hits with reviewers and readers.
How am I a failure?
I’m not. My mistake was in assuming certain things would naturally happen at certain stages of my career. My mistake was in comparing my ‘achievements’ with those of other authors. Huge, honking mistake. There are so many variables. Reality check. I’m not them. I’m me. And (note to self) I’m pretty darn charmed.
My original goal was to sign with a major New York publisher. To share my stories with thousands of readers. To see my stories in print and in book stores.
I’ve done all that… and more. I succeeded. I conquered. I should be happy dancing, not wallowing. I should be living life, embracing the future, exploring new opportunities.
I don’t have resolution or goal this year. I have a new attitude, a new mantra.
Live. Embrace. Explore.
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