This is a hard truth. But you need to hear it. So does every other writer you know. I need to hear it.
I am getting the results I deserve.
I am not unlucky. It’s not that I haven’t “gotten my break.” Things are not harder for me than they are for someone else.
If I’m not seeing the outcomes I want, then I’m either doing the wrong things, I’m not doing things well enough, or I’m not doing enough.
How about you?
Here’s the deal: you are competing with writers who are willing to give up everything – jobs, hobbies, exercise—whatever it takes.
You may realistically choose that you’re not willing to give up everything, or to do “whatever it takes.”
But let’s recognize that what you’re saying is, “I’m willing to do only this much, and then I’m hoping to get lucky.” That’s fine, but don’t gripe if you don’t achieve your dreams. Nobody deserves luck.
Is there any luck involved? Sure, there’s always a little bit of right-place, right-time involved. That’s true of any challenging career you might pursue. But I’ve noticed that exceptional people tend to find a lot more luck.
Successful people seem to be consistently in the right kinds of places at the right kinds of times. It takes effort and sacrifice, showing up over and over again, and then suddenly you’re “in the right place at the right time.”
That writer that just went viral with a blog post has been pushing out great content every week for the past two years and marketing it well, then suddenly, she’s in the right place at the right time. What a lucky duck!
You’re not unlucky. The market isn’t unfair. Nothing is stacked against you. If you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to own that.
Revoke the permission you’ve given yourself to make excuses. Own your outcomes right now.
Say it with me: “I am getting the results that I deserve.”
We have to start there. Because once we own it, we can solve it.
Accepting this premise allows you to move from a place of envy to a place of learning. “Rotten eggs! They just got so lucky, I wish I got a break like that,” is the wrong attitude. Instead, we can productively ask, “What are they doing that I’m not doing? How are they doing it? When and how often are they doing it?” When we ask those questions and humbly assess our own efforts, then we’re in a position to improve and to move towards the results that we want.
If you’ve decided that you’re truly willing to do whatever it takes, then you have one of three problems:
1. You’re doing the wrong things. Perhaps you’re pursuing imaginary opportunities. Is there a real demand for the kind of work you’re focusing on?
Perhaps are you’re writing in a genre that doesn’t suit your voice. Have you experimented with short stories in other genres or styles and submitted them?
Perhaps you are untrained and don’t understand which activities will effectively promote yourself and your work. Are you educating yourself, even if you have to pay for it, and making changes?
You said you’d do whatever it takes.
2. You’re not doing things well enough. Perhaps your writing isn’t good enough yet. Are you actively seeking out hard criticism, and educating yourself to improve?
Perhaps your platform-building isn’t connecting with your audience. Are you soliciting feedback and making changes?
You said you’d do whatever it takes.
3. You’re not doing enough. Don’t tell me you want to be a novelist if you’re not writing at least one new book a year.
Don’t tell me you want to build an author’s platform if you’re not pushing out great material every single week.
Don’t tell me you want to find an agent if you only sent ten queries about a single title.
I’ve worked with hundreds of authors. The ones that make it are the ones that work harder AND work smarter AND execute consistently for long periods of time.
They’re not waiting for their ship to come in, they’re rowing alongside.
This advice can either release you or empower you.
Perhaps this advice releases you from unreasonable expectations.
You may realize that you like your present amount of effort more than you care about your results. It’s OK to just write when you feel like it, have a little blog that you enjoy, and just have fun with it. That’s fine. It would be unreasonable, however, to approach your writing in this way and to expect extraordinary results.
If you like the amount of effort you put in and don’t have any desire to change your methods, then choose to be content with the results. Stop letting the world inject unrealistic expectations into your writing life. Maybe you will get lucky after all.
But perhaps this advice empowers you to take responsibility for the results that you’re seeing.
You’re not unlucky. It’s not unfair. If you’re not getting the results that you want, then it’s time to assess your efforts and make changes.
Today, J.K. Rowling is one of the most successful people on the planet, and is the richest author of all time. Thirty years ago she quit her job and lived on government benefits to achieve her dream. Harry Potter was rejected over and over again. Did she finally get lucky?
She owned her outcomes, and did whatever it takes to achieve the results she wanted.
Own your outcomes.
Do different, more, better, until your objectives are achieved.
Accept that you’re getting the results you deserve so that you can self-assess and improve. This single shift will move you from a place of envy to a place of humble learning. That just may make all the difference.
You know someone who needs to hear this. Sharing is caring. You may just change their life.
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