Sunday, February 5, 2012

Do You Expect Success? by Alison Henderson

Do you expect success, or does accomplishment take you by surprise? Sometimes we try to protect ourselves from disappointment by expecting the worst, or we refuse to admit our hopes to others to avoid embarrassment if we fail. These behaviors are two sides of the same coin. They both deprive us of the full experience of anticipating the outcome of our endeavors. In seeking to avoid the lows, we miss the highs.

Among my siblings, I have always been considered “the practical one”, not “the creative one” or “the dreamer”—in other words, the last one anyone expected to become a writer. However, when I started writing nineteen years ago, I fully expected success. I didn’t know any better. I finished a couple of books, obtained an agent, and expected to become a published author in short order.

I soon learned the road to publication is rarely that smooth. Publishers’ needs change, readers’ tastes change, and life intervenes. Many years passed without a sale, but I kept writing, and through it all, I still expected success. Part of that was due to stubbornness and part to perseverance, but mostly it was unquenchable optimism. I’d long since lost my naïveté about the publishing business, but I never lost my conviction that I could succeed.

I’m definitely a glass-half-full type of person. I accept reality but always expect the best. I can’t imagine living any other way. I certainly never would have become published if hadn’t expected success. It’s far too easy to become discouraged.

Now, I share my hopes with my family and friends. If they ask what I’m working on, I tell them. I no longer wait until I’ve sold a story to admit I wrote it. For me, being confident enough to risk failure is the flip side of expecting to succeed, and knowing I’m not on the road alone helps bolster that confidence.

The heroine in my latest historical romance, A Man Like That, is the embodiment of expecting success. She begins her journey full of ingenuous enthusiasm but soon learns life can be a much rockier path than she anticipated. Through it all, her innate optimism pushes her on.

Here’s a blurb:
Jessamine Randall, fearless crusader and champion of the downtrodden, is not a woman to be left waiting at the altar. When her fiancé disappears hours before the wedding, she hatches a plan to track him down and bring him back where he belongs.

Morgan Bingham knows he’s no good. Never has been. Never will be. A former outlaw is no fit husband for the daughter of the town judge, despite her misguided notions. Besides, after ten long years away from home, it’s time to return to the hills and face his demons.

Ill-prepared, but armed with unshakeable certainty, Jessy follows Morgan to his family’s cabin deep in the Ozark Mountains where she’s sucked into a whirlpool of deep secrets and old hatreds. While she fights to bring light and hope into their dark lives, her greatest challenge is Morgan himself. Can she ever convince him he’s worthy of love?

Alison Henderson


Colleen Connally said...

We each have taken a different path with our writing, but I think one thing that binds us together is our love of writing. I wrote on my personal blog the other day, Do what you love, love what you do.

Then it all works out. A Man Like That sounds like a great book! Wish you the best of success!

Laura Breck said...

Alison, I'm very impressed with your outlook on life. Gives me a lot to think about. Thank you!

Jannine Gallant said...

I think we all wrote that first book expecting to become the next Nora Roberts, and then discovered there were a few obstacles in our path to success. Good for you for letting your confidence grow through the whole process. I loved your first book and know you definitely deserve success!

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Jannine! I think I feel most successful when someone reads one of my books and enjoys it.

Joanne Stewart said...

What a great attitude to have. I have to admit, it's one I'm still working on adapting. The doubt demon in my head is a ruthless thing! Thanks for an uplifting post! Your book sounds fantastic.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Joanne! I know that doubt demon, too, but you've got to fight fire with fire.

Katherine said...

Hi Alison,
What a great outlook you have. I have to admit I thought selling my first book would be a snap. Needless to say, it's still sitting on a shelf in my closet. LOL. There are so many things wrong with it that it'll never see the light of day but I learned a lot during the writing of it.

Your book sounds great. I'll have to add it to my ever growing TBR list.