Maggie Wells | Margaret Ethridge

Contemporary Romance Authors

Monday Mayhem – Accomplishment vs Ambition

Posted on Jul 17, 2017 by Maggie Wells   6 Comments | Posted in Blog

Good morning! This blog post is brought to you today once again by the letter D. Hi! I’m here with Desdemona, my Dragon software, and I’m talking to myself again. After last week’s post, a few people have asked how it’s going, so here’s an update:

I’ve been working with it all week, I’m not sure that I’m getting any better, but I’m doing it. I’ve been dictating during my approximately twelve minute drive to work each morning. That time has netted me about 900 words on average each day this week. I’m only dictating basic punctuation, and not using the dialogue marks as of yet, but, yeah, progress. When I come home, I have Desdemona transcribe what I’ve dictated into my phone, I edit it, and add it to my work in progress. So far, so good. I’m finding that dictation allows me to get the bones of the scene in, and when I go back to edit it, I’m adding the color, character, and voice to the story.

In other news, at a great time the ladies from the Diamond State Romance Authors yesterday. it had been a couple of months since I’ve been to a meeting, and I really needed this one. Being around other writers helps to recharge the batteries.

We had an interesting discussion at lunch about ambition, expectations, reality and our accomplishments.

When you’re waist-deep in the publishing industry the disparity between an author’s ambition, expectations, and reality, can be…disheartening. And in those moments of despair, we have a tendency to downplay our accomplishments.

So if you are in one of those funks where you feel like a failure, ask yourself these simple questions:

1. Did I try?
2. Did I finish?
3. Did I dare to show my work, even if only to one person.

If you answered yes, to any of these, then you are an accomplished person.

It’s easy to lose sight of our accomplishments when we hold them up next to our ambitions. Most of the time, our ambition and expectations are waaaaaay up here, and our reality looks something like a royalty check barely big enough to cover lunch. But that doesn’t mean we still haven’t accomplished something spectacular.

I’m speaking directly to my novelist friends now, but I believe this applies to any creative endeavor:

Look at what you have done. You are amazing. Literally, one in millions. A percentage so minute, most people don’t even count it on a chart. The year I signed with my literary agent, Sara, she tweeted her 2015 query statistics in December. The numbers were so staggering I broke out the calculator, and did the math.

I know! I voluntarily did math.

You know what? I am one of the .003%

One-percenters may think they are something because their checks cover more than lunch, but you, me, and a handful of others? We’re in an even more exclusive club.

As writers, we build a career one word at a time, one book at a time, one series at a time. What we need to do is stop using yardsticks to measure a game played in millimeters. It doesn’t covert properly.

It’s not wrong to have ambition or expectations. Reality can sometimes be better than we expected. But please, oh please, don’t sweep your accomplishments under the rug because they didn’t jibe with the rest of that jive.

Feed your ambition.

Temper your expectations.

Plot what you can do to enhance your reality.

And celebrate your accomplishments every damn day. Because, wow! Who knew you had this in you?

You did. That’s who.

So, yeah… *steps off soapbox*

Right now I’m working on revisions for novel number thirty-seven and adding words to number thirty-eight. See what I did there?

I’m totally high-fiving myself as I eat the peanut butter sandwich I brought from home.

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6 Responses to "Monday Mayhem – Accomplishment vs Ambition"

  1. Comment by Michelle Kelly
    July 17, 2017 at 7:43 am  

    THIS>>> “It’s easy to lose sight of our accomplishments when we hold them up next to our ambitions.” That statements holds very true with me too.
    Congratulations, I am always in awe of your dedication. How wonderful you are moving on to 37!

  2. Comment by Brinda
    July 17, 2017 at 8:12 am  

    You always amaze me.
    Always!!

  3. Comment by Laurie
    July 17, 2017 at 8:17 am  

    *claps* To have the drive to soldier on and keep writing the stories is awesome. To paraphrase Shoeless Joe Jackson from Field of Dreams. If you write it. She will come … and read.

  4. Comment by Julie Evelyn Joyce
    July 17, 2017 at 8:20 am  

    I’m gonna quote the same line Michelle did – It’s easy to lose sight of our accomplishments when we hold them up next to our ambitions.’ Truer words were never spoken. You are AWESOME in every sense of the word, Mags. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep being inspired by you! 🙂

  5. Comment by Carol
    July 17, 2017 at 8:21 am  

    Awesome, awesome post! You should teach!

  6. Comment by Katie McGinley
    July 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm  

    It’s so easy to feel like the books I’ve written don’t matter–only the NEXT one does, and it better do better than the others. Publishing is so fast-paced, and when you’re a writer, you’re aware more than anyone else how MANY authors there are, how many books there are available, and how invisible and small you feel. 🙁 It makes me want to give up sometimes. Thank you for the perspective :-* <3


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