What’s Success, Really?

Hello Friends,

This is the time of year where I tend to be busier both privately and publicly, and I enjoy it. September is my second favorite month, lagging only slightly behind October. The change in seasons creates a kinetic energy that moves all the way through my soul with crackles and embers, and so much anticipation.

September is my birthday month, and by month’s end, the Lucy story will head off to production with others in the anthology. ARCHON will be upon St. Louis, and one of the panel topics I’ve got in how to gauge your own success as a writer. It’s interesting because, when you start out, you think, “Okay, getting my book on the shelf in a store means I’m successful.” And it’s a wonderful success, but your idea of successes changes over the course of your career. It becomes fluid. MQM’s gotten starred reviews. I’ve earned out my advance. My book’s made lists. These are successes and achievements that deserve some happy feelings, but what’s the greater success to me? I take more heart in sharpening my craft, developing richer characters, or hearing from readers that something in what I’ve written touched their mind.

It’s easy to feel Imposter Syndrome, this idea that somehow success is so precarious and artificial that it can entirely slip away and people will find out you’re not as good as others have been led to believe. It’s sad, truly. I have friends who’ve had six-figure deals who still feel dogged by shortcomings or unmet expectations. It’s so easy to feel like you’ll never be enough. Except you are enough because you aren’t one published book, one story, one query. You are enough because you’re here. In this moment, you are a success. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not.

~S

 

Finding Quiet

Hello friends,

It’s been a busy week, mostly with finishing up “Lucy Light, Lucy Dark,” editing another writer’s short story, and doing many, many things around my home. I’ve spent more time working on art–sculpting, painting, and graphics projects as well. As all the hustle and bustle tends to wear on me after a few days of run, run, run, I took some time for myself and drove out to my friend Angela’s farm not far from where I live. It’s beautiful. Tranquil. Many animals. Woods, water, and fields. It’s a small patch of everything I love having grown up in northern Illinois finding myself quite often wandering farmland. I was able to hold a bunny less than a week old, and what a soft face that seemed blissed out when I stroked my thumb across its forehead. Angela introduced me to all her pigs, her sheep and goats, the cows, so many cats and dogs. These aren’t all pets. They are working animals, but they know great love, too. It feels good in my soul today. I’ll take it.

I hope the coming week treats you all well. For those recovering from Hurricane Harvey or bracing for Hurricane Irma and the wildfires, you’re in my heart. I’m actively working with some relief groups that will bring aid to those affected.

Soon,
S