I like to grand plan. I like to do it a lot more while I’m out in the majestic landscapes with little to no cell service. I like to think I could work hard and put out so many more books a year. I do already work hard, but I want to push myself to do more, get up earlier, fit more in a day. I always feel like I’m not doing enough. Not working hard enough. That if I just do a little more I will be able to support myself writing. I put all of this on my shoulders and it makes me feel lazy for taking some time to watch tv or read or even look at instagram. I want to remove all those things off my phone like that would help me function at peek capacity. And there are some days I do this, and I get a ton of words written, and get my entire to do list done, and there are other days I don’t look at social media at all, and still stare at a blank document all day. Or stare at the edits I have yet to finish.
Now a days there are tons of motivational speakers who speak a multitude of mix messages on how to succeed. They tell you to not break promises to yourself. To get up at five am every day. To not skip a day of working out. To schedule out your entire day. To take social media off your phone. Or they tell you to give yourself a break. Lots of self care. Everything from cheat days, to write everyday, to only write in binges. And these things have worked for those people, they are successful, and I’m sure part of it was those practices. But there are also people who slept all day and wrote all night and became instant bestsellers and there are people who probably will never put in half the work you or I put in and will be successful. There are those people who came from privilege and money and it seems like everything they touch turns to gold. And I’m not saying those people don’t also work hard, but no hard work for most people will never amount to the level of success some people achieve. A lot of ‘making it’ is luck. There is no doubt about it. Yes, hard work, but also pure right-time, right-product, right amount of privilege.
And I want to grand plan, and make my dreams come true. I want to be one of those lucky people who puts out the right book at the right time to make my life a little easier. I want to keep creating, and feel like it’s worth while money wise to hours spent. I want to keep promises to myself. I want to get up at five every day and get in a few hours of writing before my children get up. I want to never have writers block and be able to get those 2000 words a day that Stephen King gets day in and day out. But I can’t. And you can’t either. And I’ll tell you why.
Not everyone’s life circumstances are the same. We don’t all function the same. We don’t all have the same level of health or mental health for that matter. We don’t all have the luxury of money to really follow our dreams or pay for those things others who are more comfortable take for granted. And we don’t all have supportive families or even support systems at all. I’m sure I have things I take for granted and privilege I’m not even considering as I write this that some people would kill for. And I have a level of success writing some would kill for. I make money and there are authors who dream about making that amount.
When does grand planning and pushing yourself too hard to keep all those promises to yourself become too much? I’m sure I could keep each and every single one of the promises I made to myself and I’d probably end up sick and depressed and not entirely better off career wise at the end of the day. There are some public figures who would tell me that’s the fear speaking and that I need to push through it and that’s fine, but what is that fine line between self-care and keeping promises to ourselves? What is the right amount of motivation and rewards? Will we ever feel successful? Or are most of us doomed to suffer from imposter syndrome for the rest of our lives. Am I chasing a dream I won’t ever accomplish? Is what I am doing worth all the time and effort at the end of the day? These are things I don’t know the answer to some days. I wish I did. I wish I could answer them for you too. I wish I knew why one book sold better than another and I wish I could repeat it. I strive to find the place where I’m working my ass off for my dreams while balancing the self care and happiness.
We all have to find our own path to success and that means different things for different people. Don’t let someone tell you you have to do it their way for it to work.