Don't Forget What You've Accomplished or I Wrote a Book

Thursday, February 20, 2020
by Chris Schroeder (Flickr.com)
All right, Muffin readers, I'm here to encourage us all a little today. A lot of my recent posts have been about indie publishing or the writing process, and I thought I'd take a break from that and get a bit simple. Here's why.

The other day, my book, Finding My Place, was sitting on the kitchen table. I recently wrote a prequel for it and got great feedback from my critique group, but there were some details of this story I couldn't remember. So I'm rereading to make sure my prequel is in alignment. Anyway, there's my book, on the kitchen table, and I had this overwhelming proud moment of, "You know what, I wrote a book. And I had it published. Plus, I go to schools and kids and parents buy it. It's not even half-bad."

Then the next thought: Why am I so hard on myself? Why am I almost apologetic that I wrote a book, got it traditionally published, and want people to buy it and read it? Why do I downplay it when people say to me: You wrote a book. Cool! 

Well...I haven't talked to a therapist about that yet, but my guess is that I'm submerged in the writing culture where a lot of people have written a book, and some have had more success than others, more success than me. So, since so many people I know have done this same thing, maybe it doesn't seem like such a big deal.

But to the rest of the world, not in the writing culture, writing a book and seeing it through to publication is a great accomplishment. And it should be to us too! We should not be apologetic that we want to share our creation with the world, that we want to find readers, that as children's writers, we want to get into schools and share our message and our books.

I told myself that day, "It's okay, Margo. You should feel proud. Of this book and all your books. This is tangible proof of a goal you set and accomplished."

But I'll be honest. I have to keep telling myself that. I'm a people pleaser by nature, and I'm trying to be a reformed people pleaser. It's hard. So I worry about everything I say and do way too much! Trust me, my friends are always saying things to me like, "Overthink much?"

When I have to ask schools if they pay for authors to talk or ask teachers to send home my book flyers or ask my newsletter list to write a review for me, it's excruciatingly difficult, and I have to force myself to push send. But I do it. I do it because I know it's what needs to be done for success and that other authors are doing it. I do it thanks to the book, You Are a Badass, which is so encouraging. I highly recommend it for anyone who has any of the difficulties I've talked about in this blog post today.

If you submitted a short story this week, that is amazing! If you finished your book manuscript, jump for joy! If you are holding a book you wrote in your hand, wow! Honestly, just wow! Yes, you'll have to get back to the hard work and turmoil of being a writer, but for a minute today, celebrate the amazing goal you accomplished. I know for sure that there are thousands (at least) of people with half-written manuscripts or who haven't even typed one word of a book idea. And you are no longer in this group.

Now, after you've toasted yourself, get back to work. And don't be afraid to ask someone to buy your book!

Margo L. Dill is a children's author, writing instructor, freelance editor, and WOW!'s managing editor, living in St. Louis, MO, with her daughter and dog. To find out more about Margo, check out https://www.margoldill.com. Margo's next class is Writing a Novel with a Writing Coach and starts on March 6! 

10 comments:

Sioux Roslawski said...

I have an author acquaintance who used to send emails asking, "How many copies of my poetry book would you like to order?"

Not "Would you..." but instead, "How many..." I'm sure that approach didn't work for everybody, but it worked for me.

Good luck evolving into a BA. You deserve all the fierce self-confidence you can muster.

Margo Dill said...

Thank you, Sioux. It is a work in progress. I remember hearing one children's author say the simplest but best advice: You never really know until you ask. And if someone says no, that's okay. At least you asked.

So many times people say yes, though, or have some way to help you!

And of course, we must return the favor and put out kindness into the world. As you do!

Patricia McGoldrick said...

Timely read for this writer! 🙂

Margo Dill said...

Patricia:
So good to hear from you! And I am so glad. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

Oh this was perfect for me today! I often try to remind myself of how far I've come. Writing stories and finishing them used to feel impossible, let alone rewriting them...and submitting them? No way. I've come so far! And often still, I feel I haven't done enough to warrant any kudos, but that shouldn't be the case. I think we all need to pat ourselves on the back sometimes.

Margo Dill said...

Totally! :) Glad, it was helpful, Nicole!

Angela said...

I'm so lucky--my husband reminds me of all I've accomplished when I'm feeling down. Remember when you won the city of Long Beach art award and your sculpture was featured on their city brochure? Or did a mural for the city? Or owned an art gallery? Or... He's an artist, so he always reminds me of the art accomplishments, but I have to remind myself of the writing ones. I often feel like I haven't done anything writing wise compared to others in our community because I haven't written a book, but I have to remember that things I think are small accomplishments are big to others. You started a writing website back when there weren't many out there; but more importantly, you wanted to help fellow writers and believed in yourself enough to go for it. Your writing has been published and nominated for awards. You've written articles and have been featured in three books. You are making progress on your memoir, etc. I've had You are a Badass on my list because of your recommendation but haven't purchased it yet, and I probably should. I think I put it off because of some of the reviews, but it sounds like it's motivated you to do all kinds of great things, Margo. :)

I also hear you about pushing the send button on a newsletter when you're asking for something, but we have to think of our creative work as a product and something separate from us, and our job is to promote it. We can easily do it for others, so why not our own products?

Motivational post, as always, Margo! :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Margo,
Definitely a good point - being part of this culture does give us a skewed view. So many people have done so many things. Why does mine matter?

Angela,
You started an AMAZING site. That I just recommended. To a young male writer. He works in a library, he's used to being outnumbered.

I think we need t-shirts. "BAD ASS IN PROGRESS"

--SueBE

Margo Dill said...

Ang:
I also have the YOU ARE A BAD ASS Daily calendar. It has great inspirational quotes. I wonder if you might like that better. I know it is not for everyone, but I find her attitude so refreshing!

Sue: T-shirts would be awesome!

Cathy C. Hall said...

SO true, Margo. Every word. I guess it's the "grass is always greener" syndrome. I look at other authors and want their kind of success instead of appreciating the success I have right here and now.

And the worst part is, I know there are writers who look at me and want what I've done. When I remember that, I'm pretty ashamed of myself--and I snap out of it awful quick. :-)

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