Measuring Small Wins


BLUF: Measure the little things.

I don't sell thousands of copies of books a month. Most times, I don't even sell hundreds.

I'm not writing full-time because I've made it. I'm writing full-time because I lost my job and, at my age and qualifications, I'm too much of a risk to hire.

I'm not waiting to hit the NYT or USA Today Bestsellers list (one; they're corrupt--read up on how positions can be bought) and I'm not into "ego metrics."

And one thing I'm DEFINITELY not is the type of author who needs a seven-figure bank account before I realize I've "won" at being an author.

I talk about it on the podcast a lot, but I also know a lot of you don't listen to Horrible Writing--though I'm not sure why since I have such a soothing and relaxing style and presentation--but I talk about recognizing your small wins along the path to and through publishing.

The pic here is an example from last night (when I was supposed to be focusing on a Cher concert).

A friend snapped this pic for me last night and sent it while I was at Cher with my lovely wife. It's from one of our local libraries and he was kind enough to capture the moment for me because he gets writers and knows how fragile we can be. These "Reader Picks" are chosen by library patrons and, apparently, someone in the Olympia area thinks my debut novel from last summer is worthy of a little public love.

Now, this placement in a local library won't get me hundreds of buys on the Amazon store. I won't be called by the Seattle news to do a culture piece. Hell, no one might even look at this book case and see my myth, legend, lore thriller sitting there.

But for me, Paul the author, this is the type of small win I need from time to time to keep going, to keep sustaining and pushing through all the crap in my head that tells me to stop writing and apply for crap jobs with crap salaries so that I can get back in the workforce. Its the type of win that reminds me, yes, I need to always improve my craft, but I'm not nearly as crappy as the inner critic tries to convince me I am.

My question to you: What small wins are you paying attention to and which ones are you ignoring, and why?

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