Lately I’ve been pretty wrapped up in the arduous task of building my author platform. So many authors have more followers than me, get more Facebook comments than me, and write more blog posts than me. With a personal goal of catching up to “them,” I’ve picked up the pace with my social media efforts. It’s what you have to do, “they” say, if you want to make it as a writer.
Oh believe me, I’ve wanted to make it as a writer since I was old enough to read.
Today, as I was trolling the Web looking for things to share on social media, I came across a blog post by author Kristin Lamb called Free Falling, Ground-Fighting & Learning to Start Over. In it, Ms. Lamb says, “The true mark of a great person isn’t how big they can be, but how small they can be and still have joy.”
That snippet of wisdom really made me pause and reflect. In all the chaos of trying to build my platform, I’d (temporarily) overlooked one overarching thing: the reason I write. It made me realize … perhaps realize is not the right word, let’s say re-remembered … that there are so, so many moments all throughout my writing career that bring me joy. Small moments, moments that perhaps no one will ever know about except me.
So then, what small successes do I take joy in?
Success: Forget finishing a novel, I find joy in crafting a certain passage, a paragraph or even a sentence in just the right way. Completing that small section and thinking, “Yes, nailed it!” – that’s a good feeling. A fantastic feeling!
Success: So what if my book’s not number one in the best-seller ranking? So what if it’s not even in the top 1,000? A reader – one reader – stopped by my Facebook page to tell me how much they liked my book. They took time out of their day to do that. To know that my imagination, my book, has touched someone else … that’s phenomenal.
Success: Do I have the most interactive, eye-catching website on the planet? No. But hey, I got it up and running. And when I emailed my mom the link, she wrote back, “Wow! I’m speechless. Words cannot describe how proud I am.” Joy. Nuff said.
In this crazy world of traditional, indie and self-publishing, we’re all fighting for elbow room. And there are always going to be others who are “bigger” than we are. The temptation is strong to judge our own various sizes in relation to theirs. But every now and again, we need to remember that small successes are what makes a person big over time. And being happy with those small successes is what sustains us on the journey.
“The true mark of a great person isn’t how big they can be, but how small they can be and still have joy.”
Thanks, Kristin Lamb, from this one small, happy writer.