No signs of outward success will be enough. I think every writer falls into it: 

  • We want an agent
  • Then we want a publisher
  • Then we wish we’d gotten a better publisher
  • People who self-publish wish they’d gone traditional
  • People published with traditional publishers wish they’d sold more copies

On the other hand, it’s human nature to want to improve, and how can we tell we’ve improved? By external validation. We recognize that “I think it’s great” has its limitations as proof of success. We want experts to say we’ve improved. 

I know I’m in this “not good enough” cycle. I have gotten compliments on my writing. I got runner-up in one publisher’s writing contest and first place in a small journal’s essay contest. And that’s within less than two months of sending my short stuff out. I’ve gotten many more rejections, and for once I’m not counting the rejections, so that’s progress. But I’m starting to belittle what I’ve gotten as “not enough”. 

I think the key is to not belittle those successes as “not enough”, but to push forward. And this includes doing anything I can do to get better. Maybe I could count getting through dev edits, peer critiques, and beta readers as success. 

PS: I just discovered how to do emojis on 😁😂💖Windows! 

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