Don't Give Up On Your Goals

I want to take my writing to the next level and write a book. But I'm terrified. Do you have any advice?
There comes a time in every writer's life when she needs to take stock. I'm here to tell you this: Your friends and family will still love you even if you never publish. There is no one in this world who will care whether or not you publish but you.

Sound shocking?

It's true.Your friends and family are for sure in your corner. They want you to succeed. They'll cheer you on, attend your readings, buy your books, whatever it takes. But no one -- no one will care whether or not you publish as much as you do. Which is why this whole publishing thing has to be a labor of love -- for YOU.

Image Credit: kennymatic via Flickr

It was sort of a shocking realization to me when weeks and months passed while I waited for a response from potential literary agents or small presses or Big Six editors that no one around me seemed to notice my angst. While I woke up every day wondering is today the day that I get the book deal? my loved ones prattled on about what to make for dinner or when we should change the oil in the car. When I began the whole trying-to-publish journey in 2006, this lack of concern for my placement in the Library of Congress was very disconcerting. Why were they not as obsessed as I was? These days, with my novel in the hands of a few editors and an agent actually answering my emails, I often forget to tell my husband when an editor gives me feedback. It's not because it's not as exciting and nerve-wracking and heart-shattering as it was six years ago. It's that after my first book came out, I fully realized this publishing journey was my thing and my thing only. The people who love me don't care if I publish. And not in a bad way -- in a good way. They won't love me less if I don't.

It made me want to publish more.

There are few things in life that you do entirely for yourself. Once you fully understand that no one -- NO ONE -- cares as much as you do about publishing, you can begin to take ownership of your writing life. After all, you don't owe anything to anyone. Maybe you publish, maybe you don't, but it's not like someone's going to be disappointed in you if you don't. It was only after I sat on my back deck and got over the hurt that my loved ones really went on with their days without giving one thought to whether or not my book was coming out that I learned to own my own work. I'm not saying I never get frustrated or I never wish things would move faster or I never wish it were just a little bit easier ... but I know these challenges are my challenges, and I can take them at the speed at which I am comfortable. This is my life, my publishing career, my timeline. There is no *should* here.

I want to get my words out into the world, and I will. But when I do, I'll be the one who cares the most.

How do you motivate yourself to keep pushing towards achieving your goals?

Author Rita Arens blogs at Surrender, Dorothy

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