A Creator’s Journey #20–The Success Story I Want to Write

I finally figured out why I hate success stories. It’s because I look at them and say, “Great for you, but that can’t happen for me.”

Now sometimes this is pure psychological/spiritual crap. My mind can’t comprehend any iota or greatness or the devil whispers in my ear that I’m nothing and always will be.

Other times…what were those writers THINKING?!

I recently read a book where I guy basically said, “I started from nothing, just like you! All I had was my email list of hundreds of people–”

STOP! How do I get a following that powerful?

*awkward crickets*

Well, thanks for the help, jerk.

In the same freaking book, the man gave another example. A guy we’ll call Jack had a successful business until he suffered an injury that essentially ended his career. Now he had to start over with nothing. But he had a dream, an idea that could carry his career to the next level despite his injury. So he used his gig at the White House to–

WAIT A MINUTE! He had a gig at the White House?! That’s not a starting point! That’s a massive milestone. How did he get to the point in his life where he had a gig at the freaking White House?!

Again, the book was silent.

Success stories fail when the teller doesn’t sound like he was ever a beginner. When he or she gives advice that requires you already have the same tools he does–or the money to purchase them.

What about when you’re broke, alone, and clueless?

People say, “Send your fans–” But what if you don’t have fans yet?

People say, “Pay for advertising to–” But what if you don’t have any money, like many startups?

People say, “Use your influence to–” But what if you don’t seem to have any influence, or influence in a totally different area?

I repeat: what if you’re at the very, very, very beginning? How do I crawl? How do I form my first word? Give me milk before steak.

I think that’s one reason I’m keeping this irregular journal. If something massive ever happens, I want to be able to look back and see what went right so that I can communicate it to others. I never want anybody to look at me and say that I was some special case that they could never achieve my level of greatness (should that ever come).

Because I’m here now. In the dirt. At night. Fighting demons of fear and depression. I’m nobody with nothing.

And I never, ever want to forget that I was here once. Because if I ever leave this place, and I remember what it’s like, I can rescue others.

I’m tired of people saying, “Use your rope to climb the mountain,” to people with one arm and no rope. I don’t know all the answers yet, but I’ll try to share the ones I do.

And if some off-the-wall miracle does happen, then I can still point to my Maker and say, “That’s how you have success.”

4 thoughts on “A Creator’s Journey #20–The Success Story I Want to Write

  1. Obligatory small loan of a million dollars. 😛

    I’m with you, though. So much of this advice is directed at people who already have something. (Just like advice articles on getting out of debt assumes you have baller income and just never learned to not spend it.) For people like us who are starting all the way at 0, the “secret” really is just to keep throwing yourself at the door until it either breaks down or someone answers. I’ve learned a whole lot doing what I do, and I’m going to try to put that into play next time, but honestly there’s no guarantee.

    That said, I’m glad you’re still doing this. I like seeing your name in my email updates and on my Kindle. It’s really competitive out there, but I think good things can happen to people who keep up the effort.


      1. I’ll try my best! I’m afraid I’ve been running dry on ideas for posts. 😦

        I know the feeling though. And on top of all the books to read, there are books to write, too! Setting a Goodreads goal is definitely helping me work through my to-read pile, though. I’m going for at least 50 per year, and more if I can spare the time.


  2. Life, unfortunately, is about “who you know,” and building connections, more than your talent, except in rare instances when someone does work hard from nothing and explodes to global success based on the strength of their idea (J.K. Rowling, who IMO, deserves all of it). Connections get you places; not having them is a determent, and most of the online advice is aimed at those with connections.

    Look what they tell new unpublished writers.

    Delete all the adverbs from your book, then an agent will accept it!
    *opens a published author’s newbie work full of adverbs on all the pages*
    Err, nope.

    Get street cred! Write for lots of magazines! Get a list of accomplishments!
    *magazines don’t want you without OTHER accomplishments*
    Err, okay.

    Blog! Blog all the time! Have an online PRESENCE!
    *it doesn’t work*

    You’re going to get one book-buyer out of maybe a 100 readers. That’s just how it is.

    IMO, just write. Write what you want, when you want, and don’t worry about making it big. Odds are, you won’t, so if you settle for just doing what you love as a sideline, and writing excellent books, you’ll eventually gather a small but loyal following.

    Will anything ever come of it? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s life. But while you wait, do something you love — extremely well.


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