Success is…

…not what I expected.

I suppose right now you’re saying to yourself, “Chicky, what makes you think you are a success in this biz?”

First, I told you, only Diane is allowed to call me Chicky.

Second, I’m surrounded by it. Look up at the top of this web page. See those names alongside mine? Those are writers, and they are friends. I have a whole slew of names in my email contact list that fall into the same two categories. I’m also a member of three local critique groups, where I’ve developed real relationships with other writers.

THAT is what marks my success these days. Not publishing credits or advances or royalties….although at one time those things would have made up my definition of success.

I imagined, at one time, that I would write my novel, send it off to and land an agent, then a publisher…and soon I’d be the next J.K. Rowling. Well, maybe not that far, but I sure didn’t expect to find out that landing an agent or publisher is about as easy as catching the wind with your bare hands!

Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe some of the feelings I’ve had.

BUT, time has passed. I’ve realized that by not being handed “success” I’ve been given a gift. Friends, relationships, people who may not be in my life otherwise. I’ve also gained time to learn things. Not just better writing, but how to build a blog and other computer skills I never thought I’d have. I’ve gotten back into drawing and my creativity has blossomed in ways I didn’t know existed. I’m shy by nature, and this slow build has given me time to grow as a person and come out of my shell.

I’m not one to fall back on clichés like, “All thing happen for a reason.” But, they do, don’t they? I wonder…what if I had landed that agent and publisher right off? What if advances and royalties had poured in from the beginning? (Not that they’ve poured in at all :P) I’d probably have missed out on all this—or stressed myself half to death trying to learn it before my book released. And then freaked out completely because I was ill equipped to handle the situation.

So today I thank God for my “success” even though it is not what I set out for.

About Kat Heckenbach

Kat grew up in the small town of Riverview, Florida, where she spent most of her time either drawing or sitting in her "reading tree" with her nose buried in a fantasy novel...except for the hours pretending her back yard was an enchanted forest that could only be reached through the secret passage in her closet... She never could give up on the idea that maybe she really was magic, mistakenly placed in a world not her own...but as the years passed, and no elves or fairies carted her away...she realized she was just going to have to create the life of her fantasies. She shares that life with her husband and two homeschooling kids. Kat is a graduate of the University of Tampa, Magna Cum Laude, B.S. in Biology. She spent several years teaching, but never in a traditional classroom--everything from Art to Algebra II. Her writing spans the gamut from inspirational personal essays to dark and disturbing fantasy and horror, with over forty short fiction and nonfiction credits to her name.

10 comments on “Success is…

  1. I love this post, Chicky. 😛
    Big hugs and congratulations on the success God is giving to your soul, my sweet.

  2. Besides, the thick skin and lessons you’ve learned through the tough times will prepare you all the better that when the “trappings” of success do come, you’ll be ready. I’ve seen artist rise too fast and not be able to hold onto it. They’ve struggled and faltered with the limelight already on them… and that’s emotionally rough…

    Say Go Be Do, and trust God with the rest. You won’t be sorry for it.

    • I joked about JK Rowling, but I’ve never had any delusions of that kind of success :). I have had daydreams about my books someday being best-sellers (what writer hasn’t?), but I didn’t realize before how much we writers have to put ourselves “out there” these days even in the very beginning. With my shy nature it’s been a blessing to get to go step by step.

      • Honestly, I always cringed when someone remarked, “Maybe you’ll be the next JK Rowling (or Twilight or Tolkien)”. It might actual mean something if the speakers had actually /read/ my stories! My Husband used to say it about Tolkien. Then he actually started reading Tolkien and he hasn’t mentioned it since.

        I know that it’s just their way of hoping the best for me (though some seem more excited about just having the “I knew them before they were famous” badge), but … too often spoken by people who haven’t sampled either author they’re comparing. For me, a better support is just to read something I wrote, a story, a sample, a poem or anything and then say what you thought. But then maybe that’s just me.

        Like you, I don’t expect that level of fame – don’t want it. However, I will confess that I expected to have /something/ published by now. lol. It’s harder than it looks at first. Maybe I’m glad I didn’t realize how tough it would be. You don’t just send it to a publisher and sit back to watch the money roll in – you have to sell yourself and your book – to the publisher, the agent, the readers etc. Writers aren’t discovered these days (maybe 1 in a million), we build our platform and success from the ground up, just like any good business. And note: at least some business sense is a must or I doubt it will last long. It’s a good thing I didn’t know that part of it or I would have probably never considered publication.

  3. Okay, I want that turtle. 🙂
    And, I remember the first time I saw your FB page. I thought, “She’s so successful, I could hate her guts right now.” So glad I don’t go with my first instincts. hehe!

    • You honestly think I put the turtle there without you in mind, dear Robynn? 🙂

      I’m glad you don’t go with your gut! (And are you sure it was *my* page you were looking at…?)

  4. What I find interesting about anyone saying that anyone would be the next Rowling is that they forget how unique Rowling’s situation is. She is the first, and only so far, author that has become a billionaire – that’s with a “b” folks – based solely on what she came up with as a series of seven children’s books. That’s a rather unique situation that went beyond just writing books and getting them published – or even sold – and you got to realize something else: with the plethora of novels and movies, comicbooks, games and whatnot based on novels, even Stephen King can’t claim billionaire status yet. And Rowling did it with just SEVEN books. Something to ponder on. 😉

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