Monday, September 30, 2013

Writerly Lesson: Success Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

We all know by now that I'm still a bit of a newb-sauce when it comes to the writerly world. Which is why I love sharing my little epiphanies with you guys. And lucky for you, I had one today.

I've been in a funk all day. I haven't wanted to write. I haven't wanted to read. All I've done is play Candy Crush Saga (I caved and joined the craze yesterday) and listen to music with the general attitude of blarg. But I haven't been able to figure out why.

At first I thought it was because I had just written a really really rough death scene yesterday. (Trust me, it's bad. Like, people might come after me with pitch forks kinda bad. Hell, I want to come after me with pitch forks after what I wrote. But I digress...) I don't think it was that, though. Yes, that sucked. But this wasn't my first death rodeo. Just my worst.

So what else could it be? Things are pretty awesome in my writerly world right now. Wattpad is going amazingly. I have over 1000 followers and votes now and close to 100,000 reads. And I was lucky enough this weekend to go meet two of my critique partners, Leigh Statham and Heather Raglin. Leigh is quite the social butterfly, enthusiastically going around to authors she might might not have even heard of and chatting them up. She would introduce me, and tell them that my book is coming out next month. And they would congratulate me, which left me turning beat red.

Why? Because I wanted to brush off the congratulations in the same way I do with my friends and family who are excited about my book being published. I want to tell them "Pfft...I'm doing it myself. It's not that big of a deal."

And that's what has hit me tonight. You see, it is that big of a deal. I want to downplay it because, in my mind, it's not like anyone has chosen to publish me. No one has picked my work out of the slushpile and said "Yes! This!!" No one chose me, so I don't deserve the congratulations.

But they did. The thing is, those Wattpad views, followers, and votes mean something. As I type this, around 1500 people have finished reading my book in the three weeks since it has been featured on the Wattpad site (only around 20 had finished up to chapter twenty-five before). Does that mean I am destined to become the next Amanda Hocking? No. But it's a pretty good start.

I suppose that is my point. Success comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn't have to mean sales (especially if you aren't selling anything yet) or contracts. You don't have to become an overnight success. But those people that are reading your work and encouraging you? They matter more than I can say. That is how we as authors should measure our success. Because let me tell you, the highlight of my day is reading the comments people leave me and answering the messages they send. Sometimes I think my book can't possibly good enough to warrant this, but in the end, I'm not the judge of that. The readers are. And I have to say, my readers are pretty freaking awesome.

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