Acceptable to others.

When you’re up a mountain in the clouds with a gorgeous view, you realise how small you really are, and how dumb comparing yourself really is.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day! Even if there’s only one person reading this blog, I still hope you had as fantastic a Valentine’s Day as I did! 🙂

I had the *best* V-day ever. It’s usually a dud. At least, it was until my fiancé came into my life. This year, not only do we have a wedding to look forward to, but he brought home not one bouquet of flowers but TWO (“because these smelled nicer, but then you have to have roses, too”), and chocolate (orange), and Zelda Skyward Sword for the Wii 😉 And it even came with a 25th Anniversary symphony CD of Zelda music. *swoon*

To top it off, the thing I’ve been eagerly hoping for for so long finally happened: I got my first bite from an agent! One of the top agents I’ve been reading up on replied to a query I sent in October, with a partial request. I know this is only a very small step, and there’s a long, long road to publication. But even if she rejects the manuscript, this was so much huger than that. To me, this meant someone in the industry saw some twinkling of potential in my writing, and that made me jump up off the sofa and run screaming down the hall. It was like someone whispered in my ear, “Keep going. This is right.”

The funniest bit is that I saw her name in my Inbox and immediately turned my phone off, made dinner, drank half a bottle of champagne, and just enjoyed my evening. I was afraid another rejection (as I’m getting used to job-related ones) this month would send me over the edge and keep me from enjoying the night. So when I got the nerve to read it, I was shocked.

No matter what happens, I feel like this gives me a much needed and appreciated push to try even harder and keep at it. So, if anyone out there’s reading this, KEEP AT IT!! Keep believing even when you get a hundred rejections. Keep trying, keep writing, keep submitting. If you believe in your dream and your abilities, don’t listen to any naysayers!

I do hear how much harder actually selling a book is, and that getting an agent is so much less than half the battle, blah blah blah. I know it’s got to be true, but I’m not going to let those bridges rain on my parade (do bridges rain?) because they’re nowhere near being crossed yet. One day at a time.

It went hand-in-hand with three quotes I read a few days later:

The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that life and power comes after we ‘get up and get going’. God does not give us overcoming life – He gives us life as we overcome. We have to take the initiative. (Oswald Chambers)

I cannot make myself acceptable to all people, and neither can you, but we can believe God will give us favor with the people He wants us involved with . . . Once we know who we are and accept ourselves, we no longer have anything to prove. (Joyce Meyer)

Secure people who know God loves them and has a plan for them are not threatened by the abilities of others. They enjoy what other people can do, and they enjoy what they can do. Our goal should be to find out what we individually are supposed to be, and then succeed at being that. (Joyce Meyer)

The first one is the sort of thing much easier believed once you’ve experienced it. Nothing’s going to happen if I sit and dream about getting published, about making writing my main focus in life. No query-fairy is gonna come down out of the sky and grant me a request. I’ve just got to hope and believe I’ve got a shot, and go for it. I believe that all the other doors in my life had to slam shut for me to take time out to give writing a shot, and if it never works out, then it wasn’t meant to be. But I don’t find out until I take the initiative and step out and do something about it.

The next two are linked. I am a person who struggles with self-esteem and self-confidence, and always have. But when I was little, not nearly as much. Anyhow, I’ve lived a life so far of wasting WAY too much time comparing myself to others. “She’s pretty, she’s a homeowner, she has a proper career, she has a huge savings account, she speaks confidently in social situations, she speaks 6 languages, she looks amazing in a bikini,” etc. Whatever.

I am finally getting to the stage where I am okay with who I am, and that acceptance is very slowly helping me to stop trying so hard to prove myself to others. But the key is the simple fact that I will NEVER please everyone. Ever. I am *such* a people-pleaser and am so guilty of backing down when I think it’ll make the other person happy. But in accepting that I’m never going to make everyone happy or like me no matter how much I back down or try to appease them, forget it!

Bottom line. I will *never* make everyone like me. I’ll never make every person happy. That sets me free! I need to remind myself of it daily.

And the last one – that’s a tough one for me. I’ve wanted to be good at so many things: playing bass guitar, painting, acting, singing, piano, guitar, dance, writing, photography, film editing. I’ve always had way too many interests and struggled to narrow them down into what I could be best at, and happiest with. But the more I practice writing (and I definitely have my film degree to thank for a lot of that practice), the more I learn about the publishing industry, the better I feel about where I’m going. I will always love painting and music and everything else, but I feel like – right now, at least – this is my calling, and if I can be great at one thing, and happy with myself in one thing, then I shouldn’t need to compare myself to the people at volleyball every week who can spike the ball in my face, or the friends who can run a 10k without breaking a sweat. I enjoy those things, but nowhere does it say I have to be amazing at them all. That pressure only comes from within.

And that goes for the querying stage, too: some writers I talk to online might get 4 requests for fulls on their first try; I have my own path, and I might not be the best query writer in the world, but I need to try harder. I believe in my manuscripts, and they deserve my effort, at the same time as being thrilled for others.

Sorry for such a long entry, but this all seemed to tie together 🙂

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