Blog note: This post is kind of embarrassing. Don’t read it. Especially if you are Colleen Hoover.
There are two realities I’ve been living in lately – one of total frustration and impatience, and one of sheer excitement about possibilities. It’s whatever one I’m focusing on that dictates how I live.
Right now, I have several exciting things to look forward to. The first is that I have made a clear plan for getting out of debt, and the end is in sight. The second is that I am weeks away from releasing my third novel, The Road to Hope. The third exciting thing is that I have a new 4-book series coming out this next year that I am crawling out of my skin to release because I’m so excited about it.
When I focus on these three things, my whole world is rosy and I am overjoyed to greet each day. But sometimes, Negative Nelly takes over, reminding me of how much work needs to be done to get these three things off the ground, and how one slip can bring everything down.
“You’ll never get this book finished in time.”
“Why save to pay off debt when you can buy cool things?”
“Some huge expense is going to knock your budget off center, anyway, so stop saving.”
“There are so many moving parts to this book series. You sure you want to commit to this?”
“You’re going to be stuck wishing you were a big time author forever.”
“Are you really serious about your book release schedule? Because that will never happen.”
“Why are you putting so much effort into writing books when you’re paying more than you’re receiving?”“You might as well throw in the towel. You know you will eventually, anyway.”
This morning, as I felt the excitement of possibility warming my insides, I could hear Negative Nelly knocking at my door, asking to be let in. And so I did what anyone would do in this situation.
I turned to Facebook.
Okay, so that’s not actually a good answer. If you’re feeling down about yourself or you need to get some work done, Facebook is the last place you should turn. It’s a tempting distraction from everything you should be doing, and you’re liable to feel worse about yourself after running through an endless timeline of other people’s successes or tragedies. However, this morning I came across a post by the ever prolific author, Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s on tour right now with Oprah and a bunch of other inspiring people. And the latest talks they had elicited the following statement:
“You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you believe.”
If you’ve been following my posts, you know I believe this truth with all my being. I believe we manifest whatever it is we focus on. So if we’re focusing on being a failure or not succeeding, those things will come true. But if we focus on moving forward one step at a time, reaching our goal, and living our dreams, it will come to fruition.
So I told Negative Nelly that I didn’t have time to listen to her today.
But then I went one step further. In my goal to one day be writing books for a living, I needed to see how other authors had done it. So I went back to Facebook (I know. Bear with me.), and Facestalked one of my favorite indie authors – Colleen Hoover.
Now this woman is someone you all should be following if you’re into New Adult romance, or you just like brilliantly funny people. Colleen is everywhere. She recently just came off a book tour with a few other authors writing under the label Atria Indie Authors. In the last 2.5 years, she’s written 8 books, all of which have received tons of attention. She’s in the top sellers list, like always. She releases a book, and then two months later, she has a new book she’s releasing.
The woman is on fire.
However, it wasn’t what she’s doing now that I wanted to see. I mean, it’s inspiring and all. But I wanted to see where she was when she was like me – just starting out and waiting to hit the big time. So I looked back to her beginning days, the ones where she had just published her first novel, Slammed.
First things, Colleen Hoover found a way to hit the ground running. She published Slammed at the beginning of 2012 (or possibly December 2011), and the reviews began trickling in. It seemed she really knew how to get the word out about her book. And within two months, she had the second book in the series released. And then she began hitting the bestsellers lists, including the NY Times as well as Amazon. And then she sold 100,000 copies of books in June of that year.
While this is kind of more than amazing, that wasn’t what I was looking at. I wanted to see who Colleen was back then vs. who she is today.
Today’s Colleen is incredibly successful. But back in 2012, Colleen was new to all of this. Her first few posts are months apart. And when she does post, there’s a sweet awkwardness underneath, with only a few comments and shares.
This is a vast difference from today’s posts, where hundreds of people share her words, and thousands are liking or commenting.
At any rate, one thing is unmistakable about Colleen Hoover from the very beginning – she believed in herself as a writer, and worked her butt off to make her dream a reality. I mean, it isn’t just sitting around to release quality books as quickly as she did. The fact that she became so popular so quickly is no mistake. She made that happen.
So seeing all of this, I became even more inspired to send Negative Nelly on her way and start focusing on what I need to do to get things off the ground.
“The Road to Hope is a beautiful story your readers are going to love.”
“You have some amazing ideas for this new book series coming out next year.”
“You’re going to enter 2015 almost completely debt free. Won’t that feel amazing?”
“You are living your dream right now. You are a writer. Be patient, good things are in the works.”
“2015 is going to be a game changing year.”
As a final note, in Elizabeth Gilbert’s post I mentioned earlier, she confessed that before she was a bestselling author, she was serving eggs and hash browns at some greasy spoon diner. While she was waitressing, however, she never stopped believing she was a writer. She WAS a writer. Even amid rejection letter after rejection letter, she believed. She worked long days, and spent all her free time writing. And it took YEARS before success finally found her. But in all that time, before she was doing tours with Oprah or inspiring people with Eat. Pray. Love., she was a writer.
I am a writer. And you? You are whatever it is you believe yourself to be. So decide what that is. And then live it.
P.S. Colleen Hoover, you are totally welcome to Facestalk me back.