Monday, January 27, 2014

Checking In

“Faith is another word for persistence.  If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.”

Earl Nightingale – The Strangest Secret

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

A.A. Milne – Winnie-the-Pooh

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today I got an e-mail that said I made $20.16.  I made this from selling eight copies of my first published book, A Few Kind Words.  Reading that e-mail was a very happy moment.   This book is the work of four years and one promise.  (The promise was to my Muse.)  Eight copies and $20.16 is not much to brag about, but it’s eight copies and $20.16 more than I had before I published this book.   
I said published because writing alone is not enough.  I know some people who are brilliant writers, but they have chosen to not move forward.  That is not a criticism or a judgment.  It’s the truth.  They have chosen to not move forward with their writing.  They may have good reasons – kids, lack of time, jobs, or other commitments.  The reasons may be valid but, and maybe this part is judgmental; I think they are afraid.   I don’t blame anyone for being afraid.  I’ve spent (wasted, actually) more time being afraid than I’d like to admit.   I understand how fear can paralyze. I understand fear very well. I understand the fear of loss.  I certainly understand the fear of rejection.
There are 7,000,000,000 people on the planet, and I sold eight books.  I have over 1,300 Facebook friends, many of whom I have helped with resumes, money or other favors and I sold eight books.  I advertised my book heavily and I still sold eight.  Not one member of my family bought my book.  The price of my book is a little more than a cup of coffee and I still only sold eight.   
Fear of rejection?  I’ve faced it.  I’m still alive.  And here’s the thing.  It hurts, but not as much as I thought it would.  It didn’t crush me or defeat me.  In fact, I don’t even think about it that much.  The only reason I’m reflecting on it now is to share some facts.  But I’m not bitter, crushed of devastated.  I have plans to publish two more. 
Here’s another thought:  maybe none of that was rejection.  Maybe it was just life.  Maybe people didn’t know about my book or maybe they forgot or maybe they didn’t have the money.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I wrote the book.  All that maters is that I’m going to write another. 
Do I want success?  Do I want money?  Of course, but those aren’t my goals.  Writing is.  My house by the beach is.  So I keep writing.  I don’t take my eyes off the goals. 
Actually I do. 
I take my eyes off my goals all the time. 
That’s why I’m checking in. 
That’s why I’m reminding myself. 
That’s why I need to remind myself almost every day. 
Here are my goals:
·      Write every day.
·      Get my house by the beach.
·      Read ten books on finance. 
·      Read a chapter a day of literature.
·      Read a chapter a day on personal financial growth.
·      Get two more books published by the end of September.

I’ve also added another daily task.  A friend introduced me to The Artist’s Way and I was challenged to handwrite three pages a day.  Can I do it?  Should I?  Don’t I have enough to do?  Yes, to all three questions, but it aligns with my other goals.  It will make me a better writer.  This is serious. This writing I do.  Taking Pressfield’s admonition to heart, being a writer is not my identity.  But it may be the vehicle by which I reach my goals.  
At times I get discouraged.  It’s normal. There are times I doubt my abilities, my chances for success or even my usefulness.   That doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I keep working towards my goals, no matter how I feel.  All that matters is that I do something, anything, every single day, to get closer to my goals.   One day I will be there.  And I’m foolish enough to believe that the more I work, the sooner I will arrive.
I’m naïve enough to believe that to Get Started and to Keep Going is to unlock the door to success.