This quote to the left is a status update from my Facebook feed in May 2013. At the time, I was doing Weight Watchers and dropped about twenty pounds. My mouth dropped open when a coworker asked me this. Thirty days? It took many months and a lot of hard work. I exercised daily and stayed within my allotted point range. I lost at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week and sometimes I plateaued. The only thing I didn’t do was give up.
Now, three years later, (not 30 days, not overnight), I’m at a weight I never thought possible. I’m almost 40 pounds lighter and a hundred times stronger. My muscles have definition and I can do cardio like it’s nobody’s business. I’ve gone from an extra large size to a small. This didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t take a pill or wrap my body or cut out carbs. Nope. I ATE. In fact, I increased how much I was eating on a daily basis. I balanced my diet with an appropriate amount of protein, fat, and yes, CARBS. I ate pizza. I treated myself to ice cream. How did I do it?
I didn’t lose sight of my goal.
Fitness is a very important part of my life, as you already know if you read my blog or visit my Facebook page. I love being healthy and working out is something I can do with my husband. Our fitness has brought us closer than we’ve ever been in our almost twenty years together. It’s become such a part of our lives that he is now a Beachbody coach and runs his own website and Facebook page.
I still have goals. I plan to keep going because this is a lifestyle change. I want to be fit, strong, and healthy. I don’t want to put those 40 pounds back on and hate the way clothes fit and hide my body and huff and puff up the stairs. This is me now, and I like her. In fact, I kind of love her.
The quote not only pertains to my fitness and weight loss but also my writing. I’ve published four novels (with a fifth out this summer) and 3 short stories. I plan on publishing 2 novellas this fall/winter as well. Writing is as important to me as fitness is and I won’t give up, even if I’m not a success.
But what constitutes success in an author’s world? It depends on the author. Some look at sales numbers, others royalties. Others consider themselves a success if another famous author has mentioned their name on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. But there are also different levels of success.
I’m friends with a few bestselling authors. Some are Amazon only bestsellers, some are USA Today, some are NYT. A few of them became practically overnight successes and others worked for years to get there. This does not mean those that catapulted into success worked any less than the ones who didn’t. True authors put hours into their work and even if writing is not a full-time job, they treat it as one — usually in addition to a full-time job. (Note: I say “true” authors because there are scammers out there, from plagiarism to simply scamming the system.)
When I see these overnight successes, am I envious? You betcha. Hey, I’m being honest here. When I wrote Pieces of it All I was convinced this was it. I called it the Anti-Alpha Male Alpha Male book. It was going to change the way people looked at New Adult.
That’s okay, though. I wrote the Pastime Pursuits series and now I’ll be releasing Dating for Decades this summer. I’m proud of ALL of my books whether they are bestsellers or not. People don’t buy my books. Well, not in high numbers, anyway. I may sell a few a month. But I am grateful for EVERY SINGLE SALE. I’m shocked and proud and embarrassed that people are reading what I write. Some love it. Some hate it. Some are lukewarm. But they’re reading my words.
So what’s my goal as an author? Well, it’s the same as it is in fitness.
TO BE THE BEST I CAN BE.
A goal is an object or a result someone desires. If you didn’t have to work for it, it wouldn’t be a goal. Achieving goals and success both take work. Sure, there are those very rare instances someone sees huge results straight out of the gate. Fine. But then they have to maintain or exceed that goal. Quick fixes are fine for weight loss, but I’ll tell you one thing — the results won’t last. (I really, really don’t believe in them. And don’t get me started on pills. The only reason I believe you should take drastic measures like that is only if your doctor directs it and monitors it). Writing. Sure, you can write a book and sell as much as E.L. James or Emily Giffin or Andy Weir, but remember that you still have to write the next book. You may or may not have the same success.
Goals are HARD WORK. Set the bar. Figure out what you want to achieve. Get there.
Then aim higher.