Go ahead and celebrate
Every Sunday, my husband and I sit and watch an American football game. I enjoy watching men in tight uniforms engage in fantastic feats of athleticism; my husband loves the strategy involved. (Football, despite the physicality of it, is a cerebral game.)
But there is one part of football that always tickles me—how very pleased the players are with themselves when they succeed. The end zone dances, the jumps of joy and displays of men flexing their muscles when they sack the quarterback. Even just a successful tackle has the players strutting around like the grandest peacocks. They are incredible and not at all shy about telling the world that they know it.
For the rest of us, such hubris would be frowned upon. If a sales person strutted around a store after making a significant sale, they would probably be fired. If a real estate person bragged about how expensive the house was that they just sold, it would not go well for them. A money manager can’t go around telling the world exactly how much money she earned for her clients.
And an author does not go around telling people how many sales they made on their latest release. They may, within their advertising copy, brag about a five-star review they received or ask others to share in their joy if they made a best-seller list, but if they were to do so outside of that context they could be seen as a showoff or worse. Best-seller list boasts are always done with humility and a great number of thanks to the others who helped with the effort.
Authors, unlike football players, simply can’t and don’t go around telling the world how fantastic they are.
It’s almost a shame, though, because there are some truly amazing authors out there. They should know how wonderful they are and be able to bask, publicly, in the thrill of a job well done. Not only that, but a great number of authors truly have no idea how talented they are. Instead, they suffer in private from imposter syndrome and depression when they should be strutting the world flexing their muscles.
A few weeks ago, I shared with a failure of mine, not necessarily because I was feeling depressed about it, but rather, I wanted to make a point. Without failure, we can’t grow and learn; and we should always learn from our failures.
What I don’t share with you is when I read through a book I’ve finished writing and actually get lost in the story, despite knowing what’s going to happen. I don’t share my joy when my sales numbers are better than expected (I have noticed that I have a tendency to blame myself when the sales numbers are bad and thank a Higher Power when they’re good. Truly, I should give myself the credit for good numbers as I do the blame for bad ones—but that’s my insecurities speaking.) I don’t share with you my successes as often as I do my failures (I’m thrilled to be able to now say that I’m a USA Today best selling author thanks to the latest Christmas anthology I was part of, and I recently had a very successful release of my newest book–see the front page of my website for more info on both!). I don’t share when I have a good writing day, but I do share when I have problems so that we can both learn from my mistakes and difficulties.
It’s because I don’t see the point in reinventing something someone has already invented; of making a mistake someone has already made. I want you to build on top of my base structure and reach for the sky. So, forgive me for strutting around flexing my muscles in the previous paragraph, but sometimes I think we should all be a little more like those football players (but maybe without the tight uniforms). 😉