The Importance of Recognizing Your Achievements!
So one of my last posts (which feels like AGES ago) dealt with the Myth of Overnight Success, and I promised you all that I’d have some other posts dealing with planning your success, planning your big break, and recognizing your achievements.
In the quest to have a big break as an author, screenwriter, filmmaker, or television writer, we can always see our goals at the top of the mountain. Maybe we want to be the next Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Joss Whedon. Or maybe we want to be a staff writer or show runner at a sci-fi and fantasy channel. Whatever your goals are, unless you’re the industry anomaly, expect to have a bit of a long haul ahead of you. Late nights, endless meetings, numerous applications, and tons of submissions to markets, writing contests, writing programs… it can be rough, but the only huge obstacles standing in front of you are these:
1). Honing your craft until it’s razor-sharp,
2). Expanding your social and professional networks,
As you hone your craft by staying on top of your writing, reading more, and practicing your skills, and as you also meet more people to add to your networks, you also need to make sure you stay out of your own way. How, you might ask, do we get in our own ways? Easy:
BY GIVING UP!
Giving up is something that you should never do if you want to be a successful writer, because in truth, that is the ONLY thing standing in between you and success. But at times, when we have such a long haul, and when we hit so many walls, giving up starts to look like a pretty sweet deal. But it’s not; it’s a siren, waiting to lure your writer’s flagship onto the rocks of death and destruction. Melodramatic, yes, but still very true, lol!
So let’s get to the point of this post. HOW do you keep your morale up and keep yourself in the game?
One major way to do this is to take a step back and recognize your own achievements. Every six months, or even better every quarter, take stock of what you’ve done and where you are in achieving your goals. Have you connected with forty more people in your networks in the past three months? That’s an achievement. Have you finished a short story or a novel in the past three to six months? That’s DEFINITELY an achievement. Have you increased your readership on your blog? That’s one hell of an achievement!
Make a list and take stock. Do this every month, and keep these achievements at the forefront. Not only will this help you to feel proud of your achievements and show your progress, but it will also be a great place from which you can re-evaluate your goals for the next quarter!
Recently, I’ve taken stock of how far I’ve come ever since I decided to break into indie publishing (and more recently, television and screenwriting). Here’s what I discovered:
Since I established Rebel Ragdoll in January 2011, I have:
- Gotten my websites and domain names running
- Changed my websites’ structure and LEARNED website and blog design
- Started and have maintained a blog that I love
- Taken care of logistics dealing with the press (bank account, mailing address, learning to file my own taxes)
- Learned how to look for, hire, and evaluate artists
- Learned how to write up and have written up legal contracts
- Commissioned nearly twenty pieces of very fantastic artwork, including cover design, with works-in-progress so that I could create a licensing book in the future
- Did a 6-week personal and writing-related backpacking trip through Europe
- Tapped into eight main social networking outlets
- Honed in on a brand and a community need in indie publishing (for sci-fi & fantasy)
- Started my own radio show!
- Attended multiple conferences on writing, publishing, and marketing
- Gotten nearly 2,000 followers on Twitter (which I started using in December of 2011)
- Re-wrote the the first fifteen chapters of my debut novel “Ghosts of Koa” (this is half the book, people!), and completely re-organized my novel structure
- have begun a MASSIVE and EXCITING career change (much more on that soon),
- learned a TON about indie publishing, fiction writing, screenwriting, and writing for television (which includes doing HOURS of reading and networking), and,
- have started writing many other creative projects that are in production, including a few screenplays, a stage play, short stories, television specs, a web series, and an original television pilot (in addition to finishing this novel).
And I’ve done all of this while progressing through my doctoral program (which I treat like a day job). I’m at the very beginning of my writing career, but over the course of the past eighteen months, I have done all these things, and I am just getting started! Have I hit pay dirt yet? Nope! But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been preparing for it, training for it, and making my way towards my goals!
Remember that learning, diving in, honing your craft, and making your way to the top always starts somewhere. Just remember to give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements, no matter how small or large, whether they are personal, educational, or professional. This will help you to stay grounded, plan your next moves, and to recognize your own talent and shine, even when your mountain of success seems far away. DO NOT GIVE UP! 🙂
Keep at it, and of course, keep it indie,