Last year, when THE PROTECTORS was on submission with publishers, I lived through some stressful months. At one point, the event I describe below happened, right when I was near the end of my Optimism Rope. The emotion it brought on surprised me, enough that I felt compelled to write about it. The blog entry below is from that time period.
One of my best writing buddies just got a book deal. I was thrilled, excited, enthusiastic, and very, very proud of him. For about ten seconds.
Then the irritating voice that lives inside my head finally spoke up. Let’s call him Loki, because he is extremely focused on mental mischief.
Be worried when he smiles
Loki: “How DARE the writing establishment give that man a deal, when you deserve it just as much. Maybe more. In fact, definitely more!”
Me: “Now, now…Thor (not his real name) earned the deal. He worked hard, and he’s very talented…”
Loki: “Not like you, oh Master of the Written Word.”
Me: “Well, you’re being too kind…”
Loki: “Not true, you’re quite brilliant. Those fools in their ivory publishing tower will soon know the price of their folly. They will PAY FOR THEIR INSOLENCE.”
Now, normally I don’t bother listening very closely to my inner Loki, because he’s kind of a dick, but in this case I found myself wanting to listen. Wanting to believe. Needing to. And that’s the problem with jealousy: it blinds you from truth, shifts focus inward when in reality, your attention should be flowing in the exact opposite direction. Hint—when your inner voice starts to sound like a comic-book supervillain, it’s probably time to reassess your attitude.
Took me a couple of days, but I finally managed to choke Loki out and put him back into his mental jail cell.
Ahhh, that's better
I remembered that success isn’t like gold or oil—there’s no finite supply, where one person claims some, and the potential success-pie is now that much smaller for the rest of us. The potential for success is infinite, no matter what you write about—I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades of Grey—and everyone’s victory should be celebrated, not bemoaned.
Writing, like most things, is part skill, part opportunity, and part blind-stinking-luck. And if someone else manages to mix those three potions together before you, it has NOTHING to do with your own efforts. Keep your head down, focus on the things you can control…your skill, your output, and your attitude…and celebrate all the wins. Yours will eventually come.
Less than two weeks later, I got a book deal of my own. My words look prophetic now, but at the time, I had no idea what would happen. Take from that what you will…but I think the lesson is still valid:
Celebrate ALL the wins, folks. Your’s, your family’s, your friends’. The great thing about success is that it’s kinda like stripper glitter. It rubs off and sticks to everything. :)