A friend of mine introduced me to the concept of toxic success. Some of the elements that struck home included: 1. Enough is never enough, and 2.Hurry to use every minute to make up for perceived inadequacy. I’ve been writing since 2001, and in 2007 I retired to write full time. I’ve had some measure of success: seven published novels with one more due in May of 2014, two nominations for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery novel and twenty-seven completed novel-length manuscripts.
The challenge for me is finding the right balance. Part of my success has
been my perseverance, and a strong work ethic. I wrote every day
and also dedicated time to giving presentations and promoting my books, but I
definitely had become wrapped up in the two points of toxic success listed
above. I put pressure on myself to always be doing more. Part of that led to
more completed manuscripts, but I could also get compulsive about my writing.
My wakeup call was the heart attack I had seven weeks ago. My goal is now
to keep my writing life in proper perspective. I will keep writing and
promoting, but if I miss a day, take a nap, stop to chat with friends or just
relax, I will no longer view these as taking time away from my “success.” As
they say, “Stop and smell the roses.” I’m glad to be alive.