Sometimes what we think will never happen is exactly what happens. When I started my publishing journey in 2019, I would have never thought I would still be waiting for The Difference to be published in 2021 because I got my contract with a small press so fast. But, life happened and here I am on a whole new journey, one that has left me more knowledgeable for my future but most importantly happy and free. I believe I need to create my success, regardless of any barriers that arise.
If you have been following me on social media and are receiving my newsletter, you know I have decided to self-publish my debut book, as of last month. My heart can’t handle querying it again and waiting any longer, so it will be out this summer! I will never publicly explain the many reasons that led me to this difficult but needed decision because I will not be disrespectful to others. Yet, there are some insights I want to express through this blog post which I hope will help you out in your life, in both writing and non-writing adventures.
Let’s start with the picture below.
Isn’t this true? From the outside, it seems like some people are successful overnight and that it is smooth and upward. I hate to break it to you, but this is hardly ever the case. If so, more power to you! I’ll cheer you on and hope it continues that way for you. But, as for us other folks, our path may resemble the right arrow a little more. But isn’t that what’s more fun anyway? Who wants a boring, old, easy success? *Raises hand, but accepts my reality
In the field of psychology, there is a concept called Grit, coined by Dr. Angela Duckworth. Her definition of the word is “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Basically, talent and luck contribute to success, but letting nothing stop you (grit) with your goal may matter just as much, as far as she has researched. With any setback or obstacle, if you want that goal, you keep going. That’s grit. And that’s me.
Only those closest to me know how much I’ve worked on all of my writing, but especially The Difference since it’s been my longest project (since 2013!). The sacrifices I’ve made shows my grit, like my first marathon this month. No, not with actual running (I relate to that statement you’ll only see me running if someone is chasing me). My marathon involved editing my book so it would be ready for my editor, to keep on target for my publishing schedule. I stayed up until 11:30 p.m. one night (way too late for me), didn’t even leave the house for a week, and barely spoke to loved ones because I had to get it done. They understood, thank God. Nothing ever has stopped me from progressing on getting my book published, especially not this new pivot with self-publishing. Learning how to be my own publisher makes me proud and having total control is exhilarating. It will completely be my vision, from cover to cover. Ahh, I can’t wait!
Now, having grit doesn’t mean I have to do everything on my own. I think it also means knowing when to ask for help in order to keep achieving the long-term goal. Without my writer friends’ knowledge (and support otherwise) and my non-writer friends for their endless emotional support, I could have never turned around my journey as fast as I did. Within days, I had all the professionals lined up for getting my book done. Hard work was and is ahead, but I’m all in (Gilmore girls reference, anyone?). I’m forever grateful to my support system. Don’t overlook how necessary one is on the mission in front of you.
The recent experience reminds me of a game I played when I led summer camp in the past. One person takes hold of a ball of yarn then throws it to another person in the circle. The intent may be to compliment the next person, for example. Then, they throw the yarn to someone else. Eventually, you have a web of connection by yarn and words. Everyone is weaved together in the game, but still freely independent from the web in front of them, reminding them of their connection to others if they choose it. The web is supported only when everyone helps one another, though. If one person lets their yarn drop, the whole web will collapse. It’s a true metaphor for this writing community. I think we need each other. I am both linked to the other writers and free. We can aid one another in our independent journeys. I know where to ask for help to reach my ultimate goal and they know where to find me.
I encourage you to think about your grit and goals. What’s the key to your success when you realize you are a gritty as me? I know you are! Only the grittiest of gritty people read these sorts of blogs. 😊
Dr. Duckhorn does have a grit quiz, if you search for her and want to take it, but I think you know if you have a gritty soul. By the way, I just want to keep saying grit because it’s fun.
Anyway, I suggest the following to help you gain clarity on your needs (taken from my own experiences):
- Think about what your long-term goal is and what it means to you.
- How much are you willing to sacrifice for this goal? Financial? Personal time? Changes in relationships?
- Envision yourself meeting that goal. How do you feel? How is your life different? Let that feeling guide your decision making in the present.
- Once you have decided you must meet your goal, write down your plan. Write this plan old-school style, not digitally. I’ve found in my therapist background that when people use their own handwriting, more commitment occurs, as well as more creativity in the plan. I won’t bore you with details, but it includes seeing your own processing on paper.
- In your plan, think about who you have as a support system. If you don’t feel you have a good one yet, create one. Join virtual groups and online communities. Join live activities as well. Do whatever you need to do achieve your dream.
- Set realistic, small steps to walk along the path to your goal. I want you to feel like you are making progress with all that is in your power.
- Determine what you will allow for a timeline, even for the steps. But this important— account for setbacks. This is life and two steps back will happen on your steps forward. It’s okay. You will rebound.
- And finally—begin today!
Take the energy you have right now and make your list. Just jot down some ideas. You can always add to it later. I wish you lots of luck and am here to chat anytime to brainstorm.
I want you to be as happy as I am for the new life changing decision I’ve made. It wasn’t easy, but as soon as it was done, it was clear it was the right one for this first book. I’m free. I’m at peace. Best of all, no matter what happens I’m the key to my success, grit and all.
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