Monday, September 30, 2013
Savoring your own success
by Meredith Cole
A long time ago I was a hopeful unpublished writer attending a writer's conference in New York City. An agent was presenting, and was giving his take on the publishing business. After his talk he answered a few questions, and then right at the end he said that he wanted to just say one more thing. He had noticed with great sorrow that most writers appeared to be perpetually dissatisfied. They got a great review, but they complained that were not a New York Times bestseller. They won an award but they griped that they didn't win a different one. And he felt like all his clients were always green with jealousy about the success of other writers. (Maybe he was Anne Lamott's agent... Who knows!)
The agent's advice to all the hopeful writers in the room was to be happy and relish each small victory. Enjoy when he you get published, or finish a story. Savor each victory. There will always be disappointments. There will always be obstacles. So make sure you take time to enjoy the good stuff.
Many wonderful writers I know have times when everything seems to be going their way. I admit to feeling a pang of jealousy when I hear someone has swept all the awards or sold their movie rights for a hefty sum. Or is having a great time at a conference I would have loved to attend.
But I'm also a reader. I enjoy reading the books of my peers, and I rejoice when a book I love is up for an award. I reach out to friends to congratulate them (hoping that they are savoring their own victories), and then I get back to work. No one can receive awards or publish a bestselling novel unless they write them first. And just because there can only be one New York Times #1 bestselling novel a week doesn't mean that there are fewer readers or fewer opportunities for the rest of us.
So... Savor. Write. Read. Repeat.