How to Measure Success

As we’re winding down to the last week and a half before the deadline of our first Writers’ Competition, I have to admit, I’m feeling the butterflies. Emotions are high on our end as we anticipate the results of three months of diligent searching for some very unique authors. We still have no idea how this will play out. We have a handful of entries already. And we’ve had several manuscripts submitted outside of the competition. All just a taste of what we could be in for over the next few months.

The excitement of seeing a submission in the mailbox is difficult to explain. There’s a clear sense of wonder at the reality of something that, up until six months ago, didn’t even exist. An overwhelming sense of awe at the fact that this is working!! There are people out there. We’ve connected. People I’ve never met have seen this vision and decided to join me. The responsibility weighs heavy, but the uncertainty keeps all senses on alert. There are so many possible outcomes.

And of course, for every possible outcome, there must be a plan in place for what we do next.

What if we only receive 5 viable entries? With seven prizes on the line and our need for dozens of stories, how will that work out?

Fifty entries would be fabulous. Ideal.

One hundred? Better still.

With five hundred, we could jump ahead a full year in our publishing plan.

With a thousand, we’re in deep, deep kaaka. What the heck would we do with a thousand stories!!

But then, that’s a problem I wouldn’t mind having.

There’s an awful lot of fear. I’ve been at this for quite some time now. I overheard the husband voice a concern the other day that I’m spending too much time on the computer. He’s always been so supportive of every idea I’ve ever run with. No matter how much it cost or how promising he thought it was. Silly man. So I sat him down and showed him how far Romantic Shorts has come along. Walked him through the emails, the website pages, the entries, the stories. He was quite dumbfounded. He’d seen me plugging away day after day, night after night. Come to think of it, he’d said, he hadn’t seen a crossword puzzle or television show on my screen for months.

Yesterday I heard him telling a co-worker all about my new business.

After almost 12 years as a stay-at-home mom of a brood of kids who have not only changed my life, but changed my very character, I’ve often felt that I’ve lost myself in the mix. I’ve found myself wondering who I will be when the kids are gone. What will I do when my credentials as a building inspector no longer hold up? How will I feel when I’ve left myself with nothing because I finished the enormous job of raising all of these adopted/special needs/gifted/athletic/talented kids, but never managed to see even one of my inventions/novels/ideas take flight… It’s been a very long and personal journey for me.

So to hear the man I love tell my story with pride, describing a genuine sense of accomplishment, without my having to prompt him from the wings, was a moment I treasure. I saw a validation of my efforts. I heard confirmation of my potential. I felt strength in my resolve. It was a perk I hadn’t expected.

Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, I have come to realize that I’ve finally come too far with one of my ideas. I have made commitments.  I have a created and idea that is now living, breathing on it’s own.

Sure it’s a baby and will need my tender loving care for the forseeable future. But that’s a job I’m eager to tackle. My kids are old enough. They don’t need me so much. And with all of this happening right under their noses, I have the added benefit of teaching them one of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn in life.

Mom’s following her dream. We’ve heard about it. We’ve been looking at those dream-house plans – on the wall, on another wall, in the trash, back on the wall, covered in coffee rings, covered in decor magazine clippings, under the clear vinyl tablecloth – all of our lives. She’s always talking about another idea. She’s always talking to us about making decisions for our future. “You don’t have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. You just have to decide what you want to do first.” Now she’s finally decided what she’s doing next.

They’ve been watching. They’ve been learning. And now they’re rooting.

Fear, butterflies, worry, excitement, awe, confidence, and confusion aside. By my definition of success, I’m well on my way!

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2 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Just a Thought

2 responses to “How to Measure Success

  1. JW

    What an inspiring post! Hurray for you for living your dream!!!! 🙂

    I already know two of my friends have stories written that they plan on entering in your competition! I’m hoping to join them too!

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