Thursday, September 20, 2012

Go for the grapes

I finally finished writing The Phantom Wolf, the next book in my new mini-series. Yay! I’m worn out, so here is a rewrite of a blog from two years ago. And a special thank you to all the readers who make such deadlines possible for me. You rock!

Go for the grapes

I'm not a known or a best-selling author. No one talks about my books on discussion boards or blogs when they rave about authors whose books they love.

But I have known the quiet sense of pride and joy of seeing my book on the shelves, and hearing from readers about how much they loved reading them. That means a lot to me.

Disappointment is a given in the publishing industry. It can come with getting rejection on a project, or not making a list such as USA Today or the NY Times. It can be something as seemingly small as a minor mistake in cover art, or something as crushing as your publishing house dropping you because of poor sales.

We all face disappointment one time or another. It's tough when your friends and your peers make the lists, have their books buzzed by book bloggers or get glowing reviews on Amazon, or they final in prestigious contests. Or they receive a contract for six figures, and there you are, clipping coupons so you can meet your grocery budget and there's another rejection letter sitting in your mailbox.

During those times you must remember the Sour Grapes Rule.

When someone else gets the grapes, go find a glass of plum wine and toast them, and yourself.

You know, the story about the fox and the grapes? The fox tried and tried to grab the sweet-looking grapes dangling from the vine. When he couldn't and finally gave up, he told himself, "Those grapes were sour, anyway."

Don't be the fox and deny your friends and peers the recognition they have received. Don't short change yourself either. You worked hard, wrote a great book. Or you have lots of talent and are trying to get published. You need to cheer yourself on when disappointment comes calling.

The person who got the award, the contract, the great sales, has worked very hard. She’s also endured their own trials in trying to grab those grapes. Maybe she’s a single mom, trying to make ends meet and this six-figure contract (which, when broken down book by book, isn't as grand as it appears, especially after taxes), will enable her to pay for health insurance or her kids can finally eat steak instead of hot dogs.

Life is filled with good times and bad. When you learn to seize precious moments of triumph for yourself, be it finishing a book or even finishing a sentence, it makes those grapes sweet, not sour.

Go for the grapes. Even if you constantly try to reach them and fail, drink a glass of plum wine to cheer your efforts. And some day, you'll be the one grabbing the grapes and everyone will be cheering YOU!

But that glass of plum wine is one you’ll never forget, because it's a reminder that life is not all about tasting success. It's the journey of the goal, the effort to do our best, and the grace you display when someone else grabs the grapes.

Keep going for the grapes. The next time, they may fall right into your lap when you least expect it.

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