About this time last year, I got a bit of a wake up call.
My first book had been out about six months and I was feeling really good about how it was doing. Sales were good, reviews were good, and I was tossing around the idea of continuing the book into a trilogy. I finally felt like a real author so I started connecting more online with other authors.
And then that green eyed monster showed up.
No, not that one. I'm talking envy.
All these other others seemed to be way more together than I was. They were ordering banners and announcing tons of signing events and were generally a million steps ahead of me. My feelings of owning the title of author were quickly turning into imposter syndrome.
I had to take a deep breath and re-evaluate.
Because although I considered these other authors my peers, we were not on the same footing. These other authors had been in the game a lot longer than 6 months. They had a ton of books out compared to my one. They had put in the time and energy into lifting their careers to a higher level.
I wasn't there yet...and that's okay.
My immediate urge was to go order a banner and pay way too much money for events where I would likely sell very few books. None of that made sense for me. Because I wasn't there yet. I didn't need to start my journey in the middle of someone else's.
As authors, there will always be someone just ahead of us in our careers. Instead of feeding our jealousy, we should let these authors feed our motivation to work harder.
And waiting pays off. A year later, I'm about to release my third book. I finally ordered that banner because I'm going to my first conference signing this month. Instead of overspending for events that won't help me, I am attending events that make sense. And I've even reached the point where I'm getting invitations to attend events.
I'm not saying this to brag. I'm pointing out that a year ago I would have given my right arm to be where I'm at today. I could have spent a ton of money and forced myself into this position, but it would have been a horrible move. Instead, I let those other authors inspire me to do more.
There are still authors ahead of me. I pray they never stop moving, because having them right there in front of me is an amazing motivator to keep going. To put my head down, focus on improving and growing as an author. And if I do that, who knows where I'll be next year.