Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Efforts = Results

Last Friday Colene had a video on her blog showcasing people performing amazing feats. They defied gravity, reason, and sometimes common sense.

After showing the video to my teenage son, he proceeded to youtube and introduced me to a feature called “Fail Complication”. These are montages of people failing to defy gravity, reason, and common sense. They were brutal.

It’s easy to forget about all the crashes people have when they are attempting to do a flip over a car, or jump a ravaine on a bike. All we see is the stunt performed to perfection on a video, not the broken limbs or concussions that came before they could do a flip on a wall then land on a moving skateboard.

Often we look at other writers (or maybe it’s just me) and marvel at how many followers they have. How many comments they get. How many books they’ve written. We grow a little green with envy when a writer announces they have an agent or a book deal. But we don’t know what that writer did to achieve those things.

Someone who has a lot of followers and gets lots of comments probably spends a lot of time blogging. The person who has written numerous books probably spends a lot of time writing. The person who got an agent and a book deal probably spends countless hours writing their queries, perfecting their writing, and revising their book.

We cannot compare our results with others, because we cannot compare our efforts. We can only compare our efforts with our results.

And the harder we try the better our results.

28 comments:

Mim said...

I needed this today! Thanks!

Candice said...

I know I can't be envious of anyone who has an agent since I've only sent out five queries in my life. I know I've put effort into writing several books, and now I'm ready (as soon as my current WIP is finished) to put the effort into querying.

Amie B said...

it's so hard not to compare ourselves to others, but it's a necessary evil. otherwise we'd go insane!

Heidi Willis said...

Well. That was just.... wise.

Did you turn into a sage overnight?

I think one of the reasons I like hearing about other author's journeys is because they are almost never as rosy as it might seem on the surface. Usually, they have spent years and many tears to get where they are. For that, I can only feel inspired.

Carol Riggs said...

That is so excellent! You're right--we usually don't see the crashes and burns of the trials, only the smooth results in the writing world. Great points to make about blogging, writing, querying, and publication. Totally spot-on with this sentence: "The person who has written numerous books probably spends a lot of time writing." Definitely!

Lynn said...

Very wise indeed! Our efforts is what produces the results. And we must remember sometimes our efforts are on priorities that are completely different than what we are comparing ourselves to. I needed this today. Thanks!

Carolyn V. said...

You're right! I have a friend who has a million followers (not really a million, but thousand is more like it). When I asked her how she did it, she mentioned that she spends 3-4 hours blogging. Whoa! I just don't have time like that to spend (although it would be pretty awesome).

Melissa Gill said...

That is so true Patty. This is a tough business. Why do people look at professional dancers or figure skaters, or athletes and say, "they must have practiced a lot to be that good," but don't expect the same for writers?

Angela Felsted said...

Amen sister!

Elena Solodow said...

Very true post.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, wow. Patti, this post is brilliant. Truly. I am printing this and sharing it with my composition students. I think I'll use it as a writing prompt.

Aubrie said...

I had to scale back on my bloggin because it was getting in the way of my writing. It makes me sad, though. I love blogging!

But you're soooo right!

Btw, I hope your husband like the movie!

Laura Pauling said...

We absolutely can't compare ourselves to others - we'd go absolutely crazy!

Janet said...

Great post - I often feel I'm not doing enough when it comes to blogging, querying, writing - but, then again, I have the option of doing more. Me! Myself! I!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Patti :)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great post! You're right, despite how it may appear,there are hardly any "overnight" success stories.

Robyn Campbell said...

*sniff* Hard work and time. Tons of time. I love the last two sentences of this post the most.

We can only compare our efforts with our results.

And the harder we try the better our results. You go girl! I love ya!

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true. Comparison is one of the worst things we can do. Often, we don't even know 1% of what's gone on behind the scenes. Excellent post!

Misha said...

So true.

Envy is always so bad because it makes us forget about the effort those we envy went through in order to succeed.

:-)

Elaine AM Smith said...

Wow! Words of wisdom. I think you are right: you can only judge your "now" against your "before" - that has to be the yardstick to measure improvement.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh my! You so turned this into a writing thing! And well!!! Great point, It is hard to not just envy all they have and not consider how they got there. Excellent!

Bethany Mattingly said...

Great post! and sooo true. I do the same thing. You're right though, we can't compare we can only try harder.

Lynda Young said...

awesome, awesome post!! I LOVE it!
now, getting back to work... ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Did you see Laura Pauling's post today? She blogged about the same thing. It was great. :D

Suko said...

Hi, Patti. I stopped by earlier today but ran out of time to leave a comment. This is an excellent post, which equated hard work with success. :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

So true!

Alison Stevens said...

Well said!

....Petty Witter said...

What a great note to end on. Thanks for that yahoo link, I'll have to check it out.

Melissa Marsh said...

Awesome post, Patti. You made some excellent points, and I, too, needed the reminder. Thanks!