Whether we’re just beginning our journey to publication, or have reached one destination and are moving on to the next, we may still encounter similar challenges. Author Lisa T. Bergren shares her thoughts and experiences on one that can make us stumble along the way. ~ Dawn
Conquering Professional Jealousies
by Lisa T. Bergren
I recently ran across this photo, from the first couple of years I was published, about twenty years ago. That year, God opened a door and I ran through it, deliriously happy to not only able to write, but also to publish. Those early years were amazing…Refuge did well enough to spawn a whole line of sister-books, called Palisades Romances, and I was put in charge of it. Not only did I get to write, but I got to edit too! Within two years, I had five books out. I didn’t think I could be happier.
Until that day when I decided I could be happier. If I could sell as many copies as my fellow authors did. Or have their kind of following. I fell into some niggling jealousies over my friends’ successes, and I was reminded that no matter what we accomplish, either published or unpublished, there’s always that next level we so want to reach.
As the unpublished, we cry…If only someone would answer my query with a “send your proposal”; If only an editor would respond to my proposal with a “send your whole manuscript”; If only a publisher would say, “We want to publish your book.”
As the published, we cry…If only I could get as good a cover as she has; If only they would market my book better; If only the sales team could get me in there; If only I could make the best-seller list; If only I won that award…
Whine, whine, whine. I want to shake myself sometimes, for submitting to the If-Onlys rather than appreciating the What Is. I’ve been so blessed to write all I have, and see so many books published. And really…despite my best efforts to the contrary, so much of it is out of my hands. I’ve watched books I thought would go nowhere, skyrocket in sales, and books I thought had all the signs of hitting the bestseller lists go flat as a popped balloon. As much as I want to manage and manipulate it all, I cannot.
We are so privileged to take part in anything in life that God holds—which is everything. And even our craft is within His hands. Whether it’s simply the creation of a story (that no one but our mom might ever see) or seeing that story reach millions. The only control we truly have is in choosing to submit to our Lord and bow our heads and say, “Your will, Father, not mine. I choose to thank You for what I do have, rather than get frustrated over what I do not.” Then do it again the next day. And the next.
In doing so, we free ourselves to truly enjoy every part of the journey. The hopes and dreams. The security that He sees us and holds us in His arms, regardless of what happens. The peace in celebrating our friends’ successes, regardless of what happens for us. This makes for not only a happier journey as an author; it makes for a happier life. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely what I’m after.
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Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning journeyman (meaning midlist) author of over forty books. Her latest is called Glamorous Illusions, the first in the Grand Tour Series. Her upcoming titles include Upside-Down Prayers for Parents and God Gave Us Easter. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, three kids, and a fluffy white dog named Talisker Beatrice (don’t ask).
To find out more about her, see her site, LisaBergren.com, or follow her on Twitter @LisaTBergren.