I had a couple of things happen recently that made me blink. First was a friend of mine saying she thought I was bonkers when I started writing, "but look at you now!" And then a comment from another friend I hadn't seen in ages saying, "OMG, look at how far you've come. I remember when you were trying so hard to make this work."
And you forget.
You forget in the melee of madness of trying to succeed as a writer that you have achieved something amazing. Something almost everyone you ever meet will say to you that they'd love to do. And you've done it. Not once, not twice, but (if like me) closer to twenty times. You've written a book. You've published a book. And some strangers, not invested in you in any way, actually enjoyed reading it.
Instead of taking a moment to celebrate hitting lists, selling x copies a day, getting great reviews (and lousy ones), I'm thinking "My WIP sucks. I have no idea how to add any sort of twist to this story. There's no conflict! My hero and heroine haven't even thought about sex because they just met and are running for their lives for cripes sake."
Seven years ago I have my astrological chart read by Mary O'Gara. Funnily enough I don't have an ironclad belief in astrology or psychics and yet I've found odd weird snippets unerringly accurate, enough for me to believe in some magical process going on in the Universe.
Years ago, the secretary at the Gatty Marine Lab's dad did a reading based on my ring--he said, "She's going to work abroad, Canada, Australia, here (Scotland) and Canada again--it doesn't make any sense!" He was absolutely right on both counts! A woman read my colors at a charity function. You chose wax colors and she melted them and made a gift card and she read the patterns like tea leaves. She said (giving me a weird look), "Your job has something to do with the computer, but also," cough, "sex and passion." Well, yes, it does, and it isn't porn, which was obviously what she was thinking ;)
So, back to Mary O'Gara and my chart--I'm paraphrasing Mary's words here: I have a rare kite pattern (as good as it gets for a writer), a moon in Aquarius (capable of understanding anything that I want to), Neptune in my 3rd house (which rules fantasy and the sea, encourages deep emotions but also things not always being as they seem). I have a key square which gives lots of energy, but keeps us discontented enough to work hard. My 5th moon is in Capricorn which means a lot of creativity. I focus. I finish things. I have Saturn in my 8th house but I have no idea what that means! My main problem, apparently, was believing what I did had value. That I deserved to be paid for doing something I loved. Mary said I needed to work on that, and trust me, I have. To work on my self esteem and self respect. I did that, too. It took a long time and it's a work-in-progress/constant battle. She told me I had a great chart for a writer--but not an easy chart.
And that, my friends, is why I forget to celebrate the milestones.
I'm still focused on the work, on the writing, on trying to get better. And while I think we all need to occasional pat on the back for some accomplishment, that shouldn't be anyone's focus. Writing doesn't get easier with time or experience. Maybe we just become more aware of our potential to get the book done. We have self belief even in the face of writing utter rubbish as a first draft. That's a powerful gift.
You don't need a good astrological chart to be a writer. You need to put in the hours, the graft, the toil. Learn the craft. You need to be professional. Hold your tongue. Pay attention to the market, but not so much you lose sight of the most important thing--the writing itself.
If I ever write a blog that tells you, "I did it, I'm here!" then you'll know someone has stolen my identity. I don't even write THE END on a finished story because the story is never finished. This is who I am, this is the "discontented enough to work hard" part of my personality. It's even in my astrological chart!!! LOL.
What about you? Have you "made it?" Are you there yet? How do you know?