Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

I'm Worth It (I Think)

Yesterday I had a conversation with my mother that went something like this. 

Me: "Hey, did you want a copy of Entertainment Weekly? My book is in it."

Mom: "Oh. Okay."

Me: "Entertainment Weekly. You know, that really popular magazine?"

Mom: "Oh. Right."

Me: "My book is in it.  Isn't that . . . exciting?"

Mom: "Well. You've been in so many things."

Me: "Yes. But this is EW. It's a pretty big deal. Like, 2 million people in the country read it."

Mom: "Well.  But there are like, 200 million people in the country. So that's really not all that many."

Me: "..."

You have to understand that my mom is someone who gets more worked up and excited when a new season of 24 starts. Who has no clue what to do at 4pm now that Oprah is not on every day. Who likes her entertainment. And yet, her own daughter being in a national entertainment magazine...it's no big deal.  So I spent a good part of last night wondering what the hell I have to do to make her proud of me.

And then I realized that me telling people my successes in hopes that they'll see me more worthwhile is a fruitless pursuit. Because nobody in this world gives a crap about me more than I do. I guess that's pretty much the way it is for everyone. And so I need to be my own biggest cheerleader and stop thinking I need other people to make me feel good about myself. Every little step along this journey, I've celebrated my success only half-heartedly, because after only a few moments of glee, I reduced myself. "Yeah. You got an agent, but have you published a book yet?"  "Yeah, you sold that book. But it doesn't make you a career novelist."  "Yeah, you have books out. But  they're not bestsellers."  

This summer I ended up stuck in a giant corn maze in the middle of Lancaster, PA, for fun.  You have to find a bunch of puzzle pieces first, scattered all over the field, before you can find your way out.  It occurred to me while navigating the paths, looking for treasures, that this is a little like a writer's journey. There's many different ways to be successful. You might not find all the treasures before you reach the end, and probably when you're done, as much as it is a relief, you'll wish you could have stayed longer to find them. I never look at other writers who are trying to get published and think, "Oh, those nobodies."  I think, like most authors do, that they are just newer to the maze. Eventually they may catch up to me, eventually they may even pass me. And that's a good thing... but probably not if they need people to sit on the sidelines and applaud them when they reach that treasure. Sure, it's nice to have people happy about my success... but to need that, to absolutely have to have that validation to feel good about myself... there's something wrong. 

So I guess from now on, I'm going to keep chanting to myself "I'm awesome" so I don't have to seek approval from the rest of the world. If you see me with my lips moving, you'll know I'm not crazy. Okay, actually, I am crazy, but at least you will know what I am doing.:)

Events News:

I'm doing PAYA in Westchester, PA, next weekend, Saturday, August 27.  Come on out and meet over a dozen YA authors!

I also will be doing the Princeton Children's Book Festival and a signing with the KidLit Author Club at Doylestown Books in September. More info on that to come.




( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
You ARE awesome!!!
I once had a boss tell me that everyone needed to "toot their own horn" because no one else would do it for them. So toot away! You deserve it. Three books in print while raising two adorable children is not small potatoes!
Aug. 20th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Aunt Jay!
Aug. 21st, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)
Aug. 22nd, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Tez!
Aug. 21st, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
Hooray for EW! :)
Aug. 22nd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Robin!
Aug. 21st, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Congrats on being in EW :)
Aug. 22nd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jon!
Aug. 21st, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about cool things today. And remembering when I had a baby I made friends with this lady from my birth class. It was perfect. We were in the exact same stage of our lives and had the exact same successes and worries. Right now, I've got some good news in the works, but it's hard to find the right people to share it with. You want them to be super excited for you, but not jealous, and that's hard to find.

And maybe part of what happened with you is that your mom is not the kind of person who can get excited over stuff? Or over book stuff?
Aug. 22nd, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks, April, it really is hard to find the right people to share successes with. I think my mom just does not understand the scope of it... just like most people think they could write a bestseller if only they had the time in their busy day, she thinks that most people who are published by a major publisher SHOULD be in EW.
Aug. 23rd, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Show her how many books are published. Show her how many are in one issue in EW. Especially YA. The chances are infinitesimally small.
Aug. 23rd, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
That is so true. I should go buy a lottery ticket, because considering all the way-popular books out there, I was really surprised they found mine.
Aug. 21st, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
PS And if my book were in EW, I would be telling everyone and would be over-the-moon excited. So Congratulations!!!
Aug. 22nd, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I am now very, very annoyed with your mother. I suspect she's not as clueless as she pretends; it's more envy, buried so deep she doesn't even know it's there. Just keep on keeping on, Cyn -- WE know what it means and I am impressed as heck! AnneB from the Blueboards
Aug. 22nd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Anne! I actually get the feeling that while her response came off as cold, she already IS proud of me, so anything else I do really doesn't change her opinion of me...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )