Tag Archives: inspiration

The Myth of the Overnight Success Story

If you’re anything like me you’ve been working on your novel (or a series of novels, or several stand-alone novels) for many, many years. And you probably have friends that know this. Or maybe they’re just coworkers and if they’re not the type of people who sit down and read or write then they’re not going to understand what takes you so long. The problem is that they are fooled by the myth of the overnight success story.

While I still worked for the same company I do now, in years previous I was in a different position and surrounded by people who didn’t read. They didn’t read. They didn’t write. And they most certainly didn’t understand the publishing industry, the literary market or the process. Hell, I don’t even think I understand the process sometimes as our world is ever-changing. The thing is a lot of people think that overnight success happens because it can seem like it does to certain individuals. It also doesn’t help that we live in a society that craves instant gratification.

No one ever sees all the years of struggle before that.

Amanda Hocking is a self-made millionaire. She wrote several YA novels. For years she submitted to publishers and received a whole shoe box full of rejection letters. But to keep all of those years spent devising plots and crafting characters from going to waste, she decided to self-publish on Amazon.com. At that time she was working a job that made under $30,000 a year. And all she wanted was a few hundred bucks to go see an event in a nearby town.

I believe she had seven novels written at the time. She posted all of them on Amazon around the same time. Within two years, she was a millionaire and a lot of people saw that as an overnight success. But again, no one takes into account the years she spent writing the novels and receiving the rejection letters.

Don’t let the myth of overnight success fool you.

Don’t get caught up in the belief that you’re going to write a book, put it out there, and wake up the next day to fame and fortune. That’s not how it works. Yet, a lot of people think  that’s what happens… when that never happens. It just appears that way from our angle. It appears that way standing on the outside, looking in.

In the end, when your friends or coworkers start questioning you as to what on earth takes you so long to accomplish your goals and dreams, remind yourself that at least you’re working towards something. Because people with that kind of attitude usually aren’t working towards anything in life. They are content to wake up, go to work, and come home. If they don’t understand that it takes time to be successful than they’re not working toward success themselves.

Turn on the Faucet

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’amour

One of my most popular posts on this page is titled 6 Ways to Find Creative Motivation. One of the reasons why think it’s so popular is that as creatives we sometimes struggle to find the determination and willpower to work on our craft. Sometimes we lose passion. Sometimes we grow tired. When that happens we expect there to be some easy way to ignite the fire within us. However, we just have to change our thinking because the fire and passion we need, comes from within.

I recently read a book on leadership for work entitled The Servant by James C. Hunter. The lesson that stood out to me the most and was the idea that you must take action first and then inspiration will follow. It may seem a little backwards. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s true. Whether it’s within my writing or conquering a task like cleaning the house, getting started is always the hardest part. But like the quote mentioned above, once you turn the faucet on the water starts to flow.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Instead of wasting time looking elsewhere for inspiration and motivation all you really have to do is start. It sounds too good to be true. I promise you that once you jump that hurdle and get started the task becomes much easier.

“We are more likely to act ourselves into a feeling than feel ourselves into action.” -Jerome Bruner

As I’m writing this blog post right now- I’m exhausted. I’ve been burning both ends of the candle. Sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew but I’m striving for a better me and isn’t that worth going the extra mile for? So I made myself sit down at my desk despite my exhaustion to churn out this blog post. Not only have I proved to myself everything that I’ve stated within this post by doing so, but I hope that I’ve also inspired some of you.

Take that first step. Turn on the faucet.

Happy creating.
-RB