I hate today. I’m on the couch as I write this, sipping out of a water glass my sweet four-year-old can’t fill quick enough. This is the first time I’ve had a fever since I can remember, and I’m unproductive. What a waste. A big, fat, ugly day filled with piles getting bigger, research not getting done and muscles getting flabby. I consider my weights in the closet—the ones I haven’t used nearly enough because the past few months of busyness have leached a good portion of my time. I curl up under my tea-sloshed blanket and scowl.
I don’t have time for this.
I sift through my email and social media. Everyone seems to be thinking about success today. What is it, really, and how do you know you’ve found it? Am I supposed to consider this as I camp out on my couch, not getting success done? I click on another blog and there it is again.
I just finished reading a book on the meticulous ways to map out a novel before beginning writing—“this is where you find success”, the author said. I think I yawned 2.5 million times before I was half-way through. I couldn’t give that book away fast enough. And extreme organization is a great way to suck the life out of a story if that’s not how you’re wired. I’ve tried it. Success is not found in changing the way God wired you.
Several years ago, someone insinuated that I needed to go back to school. My job didn’t pay enough, it wasn’t prestigious enough, and they insisted I would find success in getting a degree like theirs. They said my idea of advancing in the arts was unrealistic.
Thankfully, I ignored them—otherwise I would never have completed and published my novel (and since then, that person’s priorities of prestige and $$$ ended up landing them in a world of hurt). Success is not found in a bank account or in the opinions of others.
My daughter keeps a notebook everywhere she goes—in the car, on her bed—being a sensitive soul, she needs all kinds of creative outlets to express herself. When her glass is half-empty a little too long, I encourage her to write about the things she’s thankful for. Somewhere along her words, she finds her answer—and I find mine. I pick up the paper she handed me before school this morning and delight in her wisdom on the art of ballet. Here is a condensed version of Chloe’s rules for being a successful ballerina:
Keep your back straight.
Don’t bend your knees unless your teacher tells you to.
Keep your balance.
Have strength, courage and Faith.
Never give up.
There it is—in the word she capitalized—Faith. That’s where success is. I think many of us feel like a good portion of our time is spent in between Good Friday and Resurrection Day. It’s dark, confusing, and feels like all we have invested our time and energy into has been sealed inside a dark tomb—going nowhere fast.
When success comes, it looks nothing like we thought it would. There are scars. The steps we take from now on require strength, courage and a whole lot of Faith. But someone carries those scars for us, and He’s not the product of human realism. He’s supernatural.
So there’s the answer. Our only option is to dream big.
What is your dream?
My dream is to actually make a living from my novels. I’ve been at it (pursuing the novelist scene) since 2009, and still sell a modicum of books here and there. I have resigned myself to write these crazy novels and have written since I was 15. Thank you so much for your blog post. It inspired me in more ways than you know.
Thank you, Roger! Keep writing! Bless you!