So here I’ve been for the last few months, avoiding my blog because I’ve been completely uninspired; feeling sorry for myself due to unimpressive book sales and the fact that Kelly Rippa hasn’t called me yet; having all the time in the world to do housework and resenting said free time because I dislike housework. “I bet super successful people don’t have time to fold socks.” *pout*pout* I know. I can be a bit of a shit at times. The literary rollercoaster ride has slowed and I’ve been taking it personally, as though the Divine gave me this mission only to leave me with an office full of unsold books and a calendar with no scheduled interviews. I felt the need to pray about it in order to gain some insight on my seemingly stagnating career. It went a little something like this. Me: “God, W-T-F? You give me this message and compel me to take it to the masses. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do—taking out ad space, sending press releases to producers. NO ONE IS CALLING AND I’M BORED.” God: “Chill grasshopper, I got this. Go fold some socks, hang with your kids, watch a movie with the hubs. Enjoy this free time while you can because you won’t always have it.” And with the looming holidays, Women’s Studies starting up in the spring, and the beginnings of my third novel, God’s probably right. Nonetheless, while praying I remained unmoved by Divine Wisdom. Me: “Whatevs. What should I cook for dinner?” God: “Chili sounds good.” Me: “I know, right?” When “patience” wasn’t the response I wanted, I found myself clinging to the stress I’ve created around this career—trying to will the rise of progress since God doesn’t move fast enough. Doing this gives me a sense that I’m in control. But it takes a great deal of energy to worry myself to death and a few weeks ago I finally had enough. Me: “You know what, God? I’m sick of doing all the grunt-work and getting nowhere. If this is something you want then YOU make it happen. I’m over it.” God: “Good. It’s about flippin’ time you get out of the way.” And I did so, happily. No longer worrying about my career, I went about my daily business without a care in the world... and three days later I received a phone call from the president of a media company, telling me that he likes my message and wants me to host an Internet radio talk show. Talk show host. Not exactly where I thought this was going, but I'll take it. Perhaps I should’ve gotten out of the way a long time ago. Michelleread more
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This is a fantastic damn day! What started out as a fairly stressful morning has truly turned into a champagne afternoon. Not that I’m drinking champagne right now…I want to…I really, really do – but there’s just something about working on a buzz before five o’clock (unless I’m on vacation, or it’s a Saturday, or I have company to join me). Over the last week I’ve really been hard on myself when it comes to the state of my career. “Where’s my following? How come Oprah hasn’t called? Why aren’t I a household name yet?!” Yeah…patience? Eh. It doesn’t matter that I can be a logical and patient person with everyone else. When it comes to the expectations I place on myself, I suddenly turn into Verruca Salt. “I WANT IT NOW!” Screw the excuses, forget the compassion – if I don’t have Kelly-effing-Rippa pounding on my door by now, I must be doing something wrong. “So my book hasn’t launched yet, why should THAT hinder sales???” *eye roll* Nevertheless, upon meditating yesterday, I was inspired to reflect on how far I’ve come from where my journey first began. Allow me to share. 1. I wrote a book. It doesn’t feel like much because I’m unimpressed with my own achievements, but I know, on some level, it’s a big deal. 2. After the completion of said book, I got accepted to a respected writer’s conference, where I made friends in the industry and ultimately got connected with the amazing editor I have now. I would still be walking in circles without her. 3. A few months ago I launched a blog and, evidently, have more readers than I know about. Hit the FOLLOW button, sisters! It’s right there --> 4. I started Tweeting and am accruing two unsolicited Twitter followers a day, on average. Not bad. 5. I’m making great contacts with people in the field and have published authors who like the concept of my work and are waiting to read/review my book. 6. Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and one of the “founders” of chick-lit, wrote me personally with an invitation to send her a copy to be considered for her book club. I said, "Cool." My editor said "HUGE." Nuance. 7. The Undiscovered Goddess is due to release in early summer and I already have some fantastic advertisers waiting in the pipeline (PerezHilton.com being one of them). Millions of web-hits a day – that kind of exposure is amazing. 8. I’ve been accepted to a New York publicity summit being held in October. Here I’ll have face time with TV and radio producers, as well as other media, in order to further promote my book. At first I looked over my list of little victories, completely unfazed. “So what?” But then I realized, “Holy cow – a year ago today, I still considered writing just a hobby.” If someone had told me eleven months ago, “Hey, that book you wrote will be published before the fourth of July,” I would have asked them to kindly share whatever it was they were smoking. But here I am, about to approve the jacket blurbs and cover design. I think I need to reevaluate my definition of success…and then pour myself a glass of champagne. Patting myself on the back feels so much better than punching myself in the face. Cheers, Michelleread more
How many of you out there are a part of a social network? Lots of friends, lots of followers… I’m willing to bet there are several of you. The only reason I don’t say MANY of you is because, well…there are only several people reading my blog at this point. It’s okay, I can be honest with myself – I know when I’m not the “popular kid.” That's the whole theme of today's post - breathing through rejection. I have very few followers and every time I lose one, I try not to panic. “Why did they stop following me?! I'll make funnier Tweets, I promise! Come back!” And it doesn’t help knowing that some of my mama-blogging counterparts have thousands, THOUSANDS of followers! Does this make me feel inferior? NO. Well…kind of...yes. Here’s a little Michelle 101: I never considered myself a competitive person growing up. I avoided sports, cheerleading, pretty much any activity that involved try-outs. I didn’t like the idea of someone else deciding my fate, is what I’m saying. And I was okay with seeing my overachieving peers in their letterman's jackets. I was convinced I didn't care about that sort of thing. However, now that I’m a big girl and all mature and stuff, I have realized how much I was kidding myself during my youth (even up into my 20’s). My avoidance of competition had absolutely nothing to do with me being non-competitive. Quite the contrary, I know now that I’m extremely competitive – excruciatingly so. The kicker is, before, I never had the confidence to compete, so I figured I would simply avoid it as to prevent the devastation of failure. Straight up and simply said, I chose to ride the bench because I wasn’t confident that I could be the best and if I couldn’t be the best, it wasn’t worth the effort. I wasn’t willing to put myself out there to be rejected. Ironic, isn't it? After years of avoidance, here I am, trying to build a following as I break into the literary industry, one of the most competitive fields I could’ve chosen. Every day I wake up knowing that I could face someone rejecting my book, or my blog, or my follow request. Every day I decide that I’m creating space for success, only to fall in bed every night feeling defeated. It's frustrating and hard. Mainly because when you're competitive with no confidence, you're a train wreck. You want it SO bad, but don't believe in yourself to get it. It's a vicious cycle. If this were a High School track meet, I would’ve shot the peace sign and walked by now. "Buh-bye, coach!" But this is a different kind of race. First place doesn't matter. It's all about crossing the finish line and, right now, it feels like my life depends on it. Confidence be damned, quitting isn't an option. FAILURE is not an option. So I'll keep running. One of these days I'm going to look back and be like, "Dude, remember when I only had 26 Twitter followers?" And Perez Hilton's gonna be like, "OMG, YES! I'm so glad we're best friends, Michelle." And I'll be like, "Me, too, Perez." Michelleread more