Some of us plan for success by setting small, achievable goals in each area of our lives, which helps us reach a higher target... a result or a dream we've always had (like investing time and patience in writing a book).
Sometimes it all seems to happen for us by luck or chance; fate steers us from the route we initially plotted. Sometimes it happens following blood, sweat and tears... which, let's be honest, is more than likely why you're reading this!
A BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS
You may find it frustrating to achieve something without a blueprint to explain how and why it happened. Though we're grateful for what we have (and practising gratitude is a wonderful thing), a part of us needs to know our systems, routines and investments weren't a gigantic waste of time.
Wants and needs, though, are two completely different things when it comes to a creative business. Wants are luxuries. Needs are priorities, things we consider most important. We want to sell books, but do we need to be a bestselling author? It depends on viewpoint.
DO WE NEED SUCCESS?
If you were to ask an author friend to complete a list—what they want on one side and what they need on the other from their writing career—then complete one yourself, there's a good chance they will differ. It shouldn't matter what's on anyone else's list of priorities in this industry. It's hard enough just getting started without drowning yourself in the 'should be doings'.
Live your life your way. Write the book you want to write, in the way you want to write it. It's important to not judge yourself according to another author's wants and needs.
You're not shallow or wrong for prioritising your wants over what that author consider needs, either. This is something to remember.
List exercises like this not only to help teach you how we are unique (which is an incredibly valuable thing, because that means our books are all special even if the ideas are similar to what another has published), but they highlight what one person deems super important, another doesn't give a second thought. Our roads to success twist and turn, cross paths and in places can seem bumpy or even turn back on themselves. It's perfectly normal.
Whilst my Moleskine journal is a different design (limited edition) and has lined pages, for lists, you may prefer a dotted one.
NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS
As writers, we judge our success based on feedback. Expecting other human beings to care as much about your aspirations as you do is unrealistic and might lead to disappointment. The same goes for your book babies. The right people will care and buy from you. Those that don't (or do and leave a bad review) are entitled to their choices and opinions.
Trust that your tribe will find you, and in the meantime, embrace that you can be your biggest cheerleader and your worst nightmare in this industry... and that's OK too. Above all else, be yourself to achieve this.
I can't be the only one to wonder why some how-to books suggest 'asking the universe' for money and staying positive, because putting out good vibes will mean you receive them in return. I'm not convinced success can be achieved so easily, though I do like the idea of being cheerful and helpful to receive that in return. We have to support one another.
Such advice from books may disappoint some authors if they offer general suggestions aimed at a wider audience; reading one of these won't give you the secrets to success because there are none I know of. Hey, if I'm wrong, e-mail me! It can feel like we're being fobbed off a bit. Sure, most books cover how to do the main things in a small chapter, but it seems we as creatives struggle to understand how asking the world for guidance and merely believing we deserve success can prove fruitful... without the investment of time, energy or money, that is.
Realistically, it might not, but it doesn't hurt to do that too!
Positive thinking can keep us motivated, develops and enlightens already brilliant ideas and encourages dedication, urging us to have the best mindset to accompany all our hard work. But it alone cannot hand us financial freedom.
A PROMPT - Allocate 50 minutes
Turn to the next spread in your journal and draw two columns. Write the headings below, then set a timer for five minutes and scribble what comes to mind.
Your journal is private and should be a safe, personal space for you to express how you feel. If you're concerned about other people reading what you write, consider buying a lockable journal or storing it somewhere only you have access to.
The headings are:
Things I want to happen after publishing my book
Things I need to happen after publishing my book
Then ask yourself... why?
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