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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Susan Fox on Hard Work and Celebrating!

Thanks to the Genre-istas at Romancing the Genres for inviting me here – and congratulations on Blog-O-Versary month!

Is there anything more fun than celebrating an anniversary? To me, it’s about achievement – the initial achievement (whether it’s marriage, a first blog, a first book sale), and the fact that, one or more years later, you’re still proud of and happy about that achievement.

Once upon a time, many years ago, I dreamed of selling my first book and seeing it for sale in real live book stores and online. And I worked damned hard to achieve that dream! Oh yes, it was fun too, but I’m an organized, goal-oriented person and I knew that just dreaming and playing wasn’t likely to accomplish anything. I made lists of annual goals, and each week I set my list of weekly goals. (Yes, I do love checking tasks off lists!)

Through some combination of dreaming, hard work, luck, and magic, I did make that first sale – and I’ve just celebrated the 6th anniversary of seeing my first book come out.

But here’s a truth I’ve learned in the writing world (which is true in many other areas of work and life too): it’s never enough! Often, we’re so driven that we barely pause to celebrate one achievement before we’re thinking about what we want to do next. One book isn’t enough; it has to be two. For me, it’s now 11 books and 5 novellas published, with 2 more novels coming up this year. And yes, I’m still making those weekly task lists!

Still, every now and then we need to step back and do two things. First, celebrate! We deserve it, and celebrations also help motivate us to keep going. Second, we need to reflect and keep our sense of perspective. Why are we doing this? What is it we’re really trying to achieve? Like, for me, what’s the big deal about having books published? Why do I spend so much of my time working toward this goal? I have a law degree; I could practice law and make way more money than I do with my writing.
Now, on the 6th anniversary of my first book, it’s a perfect time to both celebrate and reflect.

Why do I write? Because I’m fascinated by people, by what goes on with their minds and emotions, by how they grow and change, by how they interact and are influenced by each other. I’m intrigued by the mating process – how we seek love and find it, and commit our lives to sharing with another human being. I want to tell those stories! And I want to send them out in the world, to provide entertainment and maybe even enlightenment, to provide laughs and the right kind of tears at poignant moments and happy endings.

My main theme is romance, especially the catalyst experience of falling for a person who isn’t the easy choice, and being forced to confront your own frailties and insecurities and become a better, stronger person – a person who will win and deserve love. I have secondary themes too, like friendship and family relationships, and I often write in a world that’s multicultural, because that’s the world I live in and enjoy.

My most recent releases are the Wild Ride to Love books – a series about the four Fallon sisters who find sexy romance on “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship.” If you feel like taking a vicarious romantic journey, I hope you’ll check them out. You’ll find excerpts, behind-the-scenes notes, discussion guides, recipes, give-aways, and other good stuff on my website.

I’d love to hear about some of the ways you celebrate your achievements, and some of your reflections on why you do whatever you’ve chosen to do. One person who comments will win an autographed copy of her (or his) choice of the Wild Ride to Love books.

www.SusanLyons.com

10 comments:

Lisa McManus Lange said...

I think it goes without saying that there is no better of celebrating achievements than with chocolate! Great blog! Lisa McManus Lange

Alexis Morgan said...

When my agent called with the news of my most recent sale of a new series to NAL, I was so buzzed I had to go shopping. I ended up buying four hand towels. Seriously, hand towels! My friends think I need to work on the quality of celebratory presents I buy for myself. Still, I smile every time I look at those towels. :-D

But I agree--it's important to take the time to celebrate all of life's achievements.

Judith Ashley said...

Susan,

I agree that Celebrating is important! There are times when I celebrate just about everything (those are not my best days) but I always celebrate major events.

When I finished my first manuscript, submitted for the first time, when I got my first rejection, when I made RWA-PRO! are a few of my major writing celebration events.

More minor writing events? Finishing a particularly difficult scene, finding just the 'right word' to show the reader what is going on, etc. Why? Because you are right...celebrating is one way to gather the energy to go on.

A piece of chocolate, time to read a favorite author, dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant, sharing my news with my best friend, a walk with my neighbor; I've found for me it doesn't have to be expensive. The simple acknowledgement of my accomplishment is often more than enough to keep me going.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Thanks, Lisa. And I can top chocolate. How about chocolate plus champagne?

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Alexis, hand towels wouldn't have been my first choice but if they make you smile, then hurray! It's all about the personal significance.

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Judith, thanks for your comment. Yes, the celebration doesn't have to be expensive. You're right, it's often just the act of stopping to acknowledge and celebrate your achievement. We need to give ourselves pats on the back when we deserve them!

Susan Lyons/Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Mcc. said...

Great post, Susan! I write lists of daily and weekly goals. These goals include writing tasks and life tasks. I believe that recognizing an accomplishment, or reaching a goal deserves a celebration, and is good for the spirit.

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Diana, you're a woman after my own heart. I print out my weekly goals on colored paper and that sheet lives on my desk. My daily goals go in my pretty appointment book. And I love crossing things off!

Sarah Raplee said...

I read somewhere that each time we cross off a goal we've accomplished on a list our brain rewards us with a little burst of endorphins. Works for me; I'm a list-maker!

Yesterday I celebrated completing every item on my list ( I tend to over-estimate what I can get done in a day!)

I write because I can't help it, and it's more fun than most of the alternatives. I write Romance because I want to leave my readers feeling hopeful and optimistic about their own lives.