Writing books isn’t the hardest thing about being an author. In fact, I sometimes look back on the years of rejections fondly. There were only two things to worry about—keep writing and keep submitting. Now published for several years, I find the struggle to build an audience to be the harder endeavor. There is a level of trust I must gain from every customer before they will open their wallets and give me a shot. For every one book sold, you are told no a thousand times more. It wears on your confidence, sometimes with tsunami strength waves. I’m grateful for my family, friends, and publishing house. Their support is like a gulp of air that helps me continue to fight, so I don’t uproot my dreams and let them be swept away. I’m also grateful for other authors who give me new ideas to pursue that might help me reach a bigger audience. Nothing like a new direction to boost your resolve to dig in and keep fighting.
This past weekend took us to another wrestling tournament for my high school son. To say he’s worked hard this year is an understatement. He cut fourteen pounds to attain his wrestling spot on the varsity team. He never misses practice. He runs on the weekend to maintain his weight and for conditioning. He’s done so many crunches I’m starting to worry he might end up permanently flexed in the stomach region when this is over. The kid has put every ounce of his heart on soul into this endeavor and yet it still doesn’t mean he always wins, which was the case for the double elimination tournament we just attended. I don’t know why he didn’t go to dad, but he ended up plopped down beside me, completely dejected.
“Why, mom?” He whispered fighting back tears, trying to not lose it in front of a crowd of onlookers. “I gave it everything I had, but I still lost. Why is it never enough?”
I’m supposed to be running the mat I’m sitting at, but I ignore the boys waiting to check in and wrap my arms around my son. Thankfully, nobody gave me any guff about it.
“Never?” I whisper back to my son. “Don’t forget you have won this season. Winning all the time is hard to do. Your opponent wants to win too, so they’re not going to just lay down and let you have the pin.”
I guess my words weren’t very comforting. He broke down and cried in earnest. I raised my finger to the approaching ref, signaling him to give me another minute then squeezed my son harder. “I know it sucks, but you can’t give up. Failures are really only failures if you stop trying.” I push him to stand. “So go get dressed and start again next week.”
I watched him leave wondering if having him wrestle was the worst thing I could have ever allowed as a mother, but then I happened to stumble upon something profound in the book I was reading that same evening. It’s from Oathbringer from Brandon Sanderson. “Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.”
He’s right. Coming up short happens a lot in life. Learning to deal with it at a young age could never be a bad thing. So wrestle on, my boy, you’re building character that will last you a lifetime.
Our attitude toward life is something we get to choose. All around us events happen that we have very little control over. Water heaters can stop working on the Saturday before Christmas. A leak in your roof can ruin an inside wall of your new home that you’ve only lived in for a little over a year. Okay, so these are a couple of the biggies that hit our family this December, but you know what? Crap happens all the time. Once we get over these hurdles, there will be new ones facing us. Do you want to know the secret to getting through it all? Be positive. It’s that simple. No it doesn’t fix the water heater or the wall, but focusing on the all the things going right in your life does help minimize the stress. It even helps you laugh in the face of it all, which in the end, is what you sometimes need most. Even if your world really is crumbling all around you, still take a moment to assess your blessings. Your crumbled world will still be there, but a positive mentality can do so much more than one wallowed in nothing but negative thoughts. Remember: no matter what it is, this too shall pass. Have a happy New Year!
Since this blog post is falling on Christmas day I’m not going to feel too bad if most of my readers don’t see this right away. Christmas is a time for family, so put down your phones and other electronic devices and just enjoy spending time with your loved ones. With my mom passing during the holiday season three years ago it has become a bittersweet time for me. I miss her dearly, but I know that she expects me to keep moving forward without her. When I think of her I realize the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones. The time we are allotted on this earth is an unknown variable. So cherish those relationships in your life, they may not be there as long as you think they will be.