Do you ever have days where you “go dark,” as I put it? Days when you’re certain you’re not as good/bright/savvy/successful as the next person? And you can’t find your way out? That’s when the Comparison Police are having their way with you.
I woke up to the Comparison Police yammering in my ear. They first directed my attention to the boxed set I didn’t get in — you know, the one already at the top of its categories. The one that would have brought in a few hundred extra dollars — that one. Then, it drifted to my sales numbers. Not as good as they might have been — I changed the categories yesterday, after all my ads happened. Had I had the right categories to begin with, I probably would have been sitting higher in the charts all week, not just since I changed them. I could keep going, but I doubt you want to hear, and I certainly don’t.
This leads to reinforcement of nagging inner messaging — “I’ll never make it as an author!” “I’m too old to make it in this business!” “I should be doing something, anything besides that I am doing!”
So what do you do on days like this? A recent program I was in urged me to look at emperical evidence to prove my conjectures about life. Okay, so step one: Will I never “make it” as an author? If “making it” means being a billionaire author, um, no, I probably won’t make that life goal (note to Universe: I’m open if you have other plans for me). What if “making it” means slow, steady progress? Done. I’m already making more $$$ than I made last year. A look at the numbers on Amazon shows me in 2012, my first whole year as a self-pubbed author, I sold 172 books. I was probably over the moon on the month I sold 31 copies. 2016 shows 2171 copies on Amazon. 2017, through June, shows 1775 sales. Many of those sales were not .99 sales — they were full price. And let’s not even talk about the boxed set sales I’ve been a part of.
If my definition of “making it” is upward progress, I’m there! Onward and upward! Am I making enough to live on? No. Note to self: Keep growing. But don’t get depressed because the numbers show progress is happening.
Your numbers might be far greater. They might be worse. The point is not to invite the Comparison Police into your mind, but to look at your progress. Do the numbers. Don’t rely on moods and beliefs to measure success.
What about “I’m too old to make it in this business!”? Ageism could be a factor, no matter what age. I was talking to my millenial nephew about his role at his business — he’s in charge of people far older than him. He doesn’t like it when he’s dismissed or belittled due to his age. He persists, doing his job to the best of his abilities. I’m in a world of many authors younger than me, some older. I don’t like it when people make assumptions about me because of my age. What do I do? I persist, writing each book better than the last book. Whatever the age I have a shot at this business.
Okay, let’s look at the last one: “I should be doing something, anything besides that I am doing!” Really? I love writing books. I love staying busy and doing interesting things. I hope to enter a program in the Fall to become an EMT. We love to adventure. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. And, I seldom live by “shoulds” — they never work.
So, after waking up “dark,” I’m back to centered. I looked at the facts. I sat with the emotions. Everything is going to be okay. For you, too.