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POINT OF VIEW: Looking Down the Mountainside

Looking Down the Mountain - Deposit Photos

It’s been a long, hard couple years. Mark and I do our best to find a little hope and joy every day, but it’s not easy in this environment of pandemic, fear, and hostility.

And the writing life’s not easy either. As a writer, I sometimes fall down the black hole of disappointment. I haven’t worked hard enough. I haven’t climbed high enough. I haven’t progressed far enough in my career.

By now, I’d hoped I would be a household name, with a big NYC agent, a series on Netflix, and a royalty check which would allow me to keep Mark in the style to which he would like to become accustomed. So far none of those things have happened, and with every passing day they seem less likely.

And yet, I have made great strides since I started this journey eight years ago. Every now and then, I need to stop and take a look back down the mountain to see where I came from, and how far I have climbed:

  • I’ve published eight novels, including two trilogies
  • I’ve published ten novellas
  • I’ve published almost twenty short stories, including three with a major SFF magazine
  • I have two books in audio, with a third coming in November and more in the works
  • In the last year, I have taken all my books wide, and now sell them through all major vendors, and bookstores too
  • My novels are available in eBook, paperback, hardcover and large print editions, and soon in audio
  • My stories have won half-a-dozen Rainbow Awards
  • I’ve become a member of SFWA, and am now the committee chair for the self-pub committee
  • I have made so many friends in the biz, people who share a common cause with me and lift me up when I’m feeling down. We’re climbing this mountain together
  • I’ve sold more than 4,700 of one of my novels and 2,800 of another
  • I’ve gotten more 5 star reviews than I can count
  • And my personal favorite: I’ve been rejected by agents more than 300 times

While that last one might not seem like something to brag about, it’s actually something I’m quite proud of. It means I took a chance and stuck my neck out that many times because I believe in what I’m doing, even if the literary world doesn’t think it will sell.

And last but not least, I have continued to learn, and to find new ways to perfect my craft. I am back to reading again, which gives me a window on what’s going on out there, and I have gone in search of resources to help me improve where I am lacking.

I’m not where I want to be yet. It’s possible I may ever get there. But I’m a lot higher up that mountain than I usually give myself credit for. And that’s something that bears remembering (and celebrating)!

So today, I pause in my never-ending climb and take pride in what I’ve done. And as I look up at the ascent ahead, it looks just a little less steep.

To my writer friends, what successes do you forget to give yourself credit for? Do you ever pause to reflect on all that you have accomplished?

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