Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free to Succeed

Last week we discussed what I believe is the first rung in the ladder of success: failure. Or rather, freeing yourself to the possibility of failing. That’s different than not trying because you might fail. You also free yourself to the possibility of succeeding.

Writing success begins with magic words like: “Chapter One” or “Once upon a time.” Every American author begins to think of being on Oprah—though some of them won’t admit it—but there’s a long journey between “Once upon a time” and Oprah.

Though I’d love to hold my published novel in my hands, I look at the responsibilities of published authors and I’m overwhelmed. Deadlines. Speaking engagements. Websites. Publicity. More deadlines. And a hundred details that I feel unprepared for. I contemplate giving up.

Now, I can choose to stay where I am—hovering on failure—or I can leave my comfort zone and take the next step up. The step toward success. It’s still daunting, but that’s okay because I don’t have to do everything successful published authors are doing now. Chances are they took baby steps on their writing journey.

Baby steps like: writing, studying books on the writing craft, joining a critique group, learning when to heed criticism and when to remain true to your story, rewriting, editing, finishing a good manuscript, seeking publication, accepting writing and speaking opportunities. The list goes on, but steps are taken one at a time.

My baby steps.
In time, negative contest feedback became good feedback. Contest finals became a contest win. One guest blog became an invitation to blog here weekly.

In the past year, I spoke at a luncheon on home schooling, I was the guest on a local radio program, and I’ll soon speak at a Boy Scout awards ceremony. I also taught a workshop at my writers group. Opportunities like these are baby steps preparing me to one day speak as an author.

You may not see opportunities like mine on your horizon. Not long ago, they weren’t on my horizon either. I’ve had to leave my comfort zone to grab these opportunities with both hands. In doing so, I believe that I’ve left failure behind. I’m on the road to success—one baby step at a time.

Come and join me.


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