Okay, guys. I haven’t blogged in a long, long time, and I probably shouldn’t be blogging right now, either. Tracked is almost here. I’m five weeks away from my debut’s release. What’s more, I’m right in the hairy-scary thick of it, working on revisions for book two.
I’m itching to write this. I really want to put some love out there, for all the writers, and artists, and basically, anyone else who needs it. So here it is—my advice, to you:
If you’re struggling to succeed, you’re in good company.
Almost every single author I know has their own unique (yet somehow familiar) story of crushing heartbreak, setback and rejection. I’m no exception. My agent was not my first agent. Tracked was not my first book. Tracked wasn’t even my first (or even second!) book on submission. What’s more, it almost didn’t sell. Then it almost didn’t make it through revisions. And to be painfully honest, every now and then, it’s still almost impossible to fight off the hydra-head monsters of fear and self-doubt. And if you’re battling those monsters, too, it just means you’re on the right path. Those tricksy beasts only show up when you’re self-aware enough to grow as an artist. They smell your hunger for improvement, and they know exactly when you’re primed to level up. Yep. Naturally, that’s when they attack. So be aware, and embrace the fight. Push past it.
If you’re struggling to succeed, write the next book.
Or paint the next picture. Or sing the next song. The only way you’re ever going to move forward is to stop holding onto everything that’s rooted in yesterday’s ground. If a book isn’t working…if it’s getting rejected all over town, it might just be an eighty-thousand word clog in your creative drainpipe. It might be stoppering up the masterpiece you’re supposed to be starting right now. That book or whatever-whatchamacallit you’ve got now? It might be the project you need to set aside and revisit later, with new skills and new eyes. But of course, you’ll never know, unless you choose to start something new. Trust me. Begin again and rescue your tomorrow.
If you’re struggling to succeed, you need to get back up.
It’s normal to get knocked to the mat. It’s okay to get knocked to the mat. Pretty much everyone who’s ever tried anything has been knocked to the mat. More specifically, pretty much everyone who’s ever tried something great has been knocked to the mat at least a hundred times. And the people who achieve greatness? They’re the ones who kept getting back up, again and again. So if you’re there–right now, this second—give yourself a moment. Catch a breath and recover. Reassess and dust off your dreams. But then come up swinging. Scrap your way back onto your feet. Listen, you. You’re halfway to something great, just by answering the bell.
If you’re struggling to succeed, you’ll be prepared, when you do succeed. All the rejections, all the tears, all the heartbreaking close calls…they will season you for the next challenge, the next goal, the next victory. Everything you’ve already faced, and will face…it all makes you tougher and fiercer and stronger. And oh, how you will cherish the victories, when they come. Each and every setback will sweeten them tenfold, while increasing your capacity for gratitude, compassion and humility. And those victories will come. They are waiting for you, ahead.
So just keep going. I promise. You’ll see.