I am a big sports fan. Baseball is my number one love, but I can get pretty crazy when it comes to football. And yesterday, my San Francisco 49ers were in the NFC Championship game for the third year in a row.
They lost. Their quest for a sixth Super Bowl Championship will have to wait at least another year. The made it to the Super Bowl last year and lost a close game. Disappointing, yes. Frustrating, you bet.
But it did get me thinking about what is success? Did the 49ers have a successful season, even though they are not the NFC champs? Is their young quarterback a failure because he made a mistake at the crucial point of the game?
I’m sure fans will debate this over the course of the offseason. Heck, I’ve participated in conversations on Facebook and Twitter about this very thing. (Don’t pay attention to my in-game Tweets. My account is taken over by a borderline crazy lady)
My son has started off-season conditioning for his high school football team. The t-shirt he got says something about last season’s playoff berth was only the beginning. They are hoping for something more. Something better. A win in the playoffs, maybe? Going all the way in their division? Will they feel like failures if they don’t go deeper into the playoffs than just making it for the first time since 1987?
All of this has got me thinking about my writing. What will make me feel like a success? At one point, just getting an editor or agent to want to look at my manuscript was a small victory. And signing that first publishing contract was pretty awesome.
But I have yet to “take the field” so to speak. My book comes out on April 7. Eleven weeks from today. So what will it take to be a success? How many copies will I need to sell? What about bestseller lists? Or awards? Will I need outside validation to make me feel like I’ve made it? And will I feel like I have to do better with the next book? And the one after that?
I already feel like I should have made fewer mistakes on the second book. Instead I find myself making the same errors in grammar and “house style” as I did on my first book. And in going through my next manuscript, yup, more of the same.
|One thing being a sports fan has taught me, is that you can’t win them all. And even if you do, you can’t keep winning every single time. All an athlete or a writer can do is put forth their best effort and keep showing up.
|Because the only thing worse than losing is quitting.|