As a writer, I work diligently to ensure the words I present to the world make it a better place. How much more should my attitude reflect what I wish to see manifested in my life? A huge obstacle and a fairly easy exercise of gratitude helped me realize my mentality was holding me back from “a better place”, even in the height of success.
They say the city where I live, Denver, sits in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Does success cast a shadow or shine a light from the top?
This weekend, I climbed a mountain. Not a real one, the weather is far too treacherous this time of year. However, my novella, Reactance, hit #1 on the Kindle Free Charts for Metaphysical Science Fiction. I find this to be quiet an obscure sub-genre, but nonetheless, I have now have a #1 book.
A few weeks ago, Amazon canceled all of my paperback preorders just weeks before Apparent Power’s launch date. There is no way to recover these sales, and preorder on Amazon is no longer available for this book. Furthermore, I have no way of knowing how many were lost or who to contact about alternate ordering options. What I did know, was somehow this would be a blessing in disguise.
Apparent Power is a dystopian novel about a mom who refuses to give up. When she’s separated from her son by a hundred miles with no working transportation, she resolves to walk to distance. As a mother, that is just what you do to make sure your kid is okay.
So, in the face of the news about my losing those sales, I dug deep. So deep, I went through every social media post I had made on my author page back to January 2018. I wrote down every “win” I experienced since I signed a publishing contract for Apparent Power. When I finished, I had three pages. Then I realized something. I never took much time to celebrate a single one of those victories, big or small. I immediately went after the next achievement. I was swinging between milestones like a kid on the monkey bars, only looking at the glorious end of the line and failing to see that each bar supporting my full weight was an accomplishment.
What happened next? Gratitude took over. I recognized names I had written down and associated with those successes. I reached out and thanked them for being a part of my dream. Though, I might have done this in the moment, reflecting on the year swelled in me a realization of what I can accomplish in 2019.
But what goes up must come down.
I have a hard time coming down from a win, hence why I scramble to my next achievement without savoring the view from the top. However, something about my three-page list of awesomeness changed my perspective. I sat down at the top of the Amazon mountain (figuratively) and in my heart thanked every single person who reached a hand and helped me there. Then, as the decent back down the charts began, I had company on the way down. I had peace on the way down. I was actually grateful on the way down, because my three-page list told me there would be more mountains climbed.
It is so easy in the world of writing for negativity, discouragement and even fear to set in. As mothers, we get up and hard-charge every day, win or lose. But it is statically impossible to lose every single time. The important thing is to pause and recognize every single win, no matter the size. Soon, those pages fill up, and those tiny wins you forgot bring the biggest smile to your face. For example, my dear friend sent me flowers out of the blue to congratulate me on a writerly accomplishment. I had almost forgotten the beautiful cube of flowers, but now they are the most memorable accomplishment this entire year.
As my debut novel hits stores and I start out at the foot of yet another mountain, every difficult step uphill will remind me the way down will be easier and refreshing. I know will be blessed many times along the way. Now I know better than to forget how I got there.
Dacia M Arnold is an award-winning, bestselling American novelist, freelance writer, mother, medical professional and a ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of Apparent Power, Reactance and Shifting Power, plus short fiction in the international anthology COLP: The Passage of Time. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her relatively short experience in the literary world.
Dacia spent fifteen months working in Baghdad Emergency room with the 86th Combat Support Hospital. During her second deployment, then Sergeant Arnold managed the busiest outpatient clinic in southern Iraq.
Now, as a mother of two, Dacia incorporates her experiences in all aspects of her life into her writing.
Find out more about Dacia on her website, facebook, twitter, goodreads, Amazon, Tattered Cover, and Barnes & Noble .
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.