I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friends and Success




Photo by kirsche22/stockxchng.com
By Beth K. Vogt


“The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” 
~Bette Midler (1945-), American singer-songwriter & actress

We're writers. 
By definition, as writers we're hoping to achieve some measure of success along the writing road, right? 
But if you believe the words of Bette Midler -- who has accumulated accolades and awards to prove she's successful -- then success is going to cost us something.
What exactly?
Our relationships -- our friendships -- with other writers.
I couldn't disagree more with Ms. Midler.
Whenever I've had reason to celebrate something along the writing road, there has always been someone to "happy dance" with me.
Some of the MBT Ponderers -- celebrating together at ACFW
I can send an email to my writing buddies. Fast dial a few friends. Put a quick shout out on Facebook. Or show up at critique group and share it face to face with other writers. I've never had to go looking for someone to be happy for me. Quite the opposite. Sometimes I'm amazed by how I'm surrounded by other writers who want to celebrate my successes, both small and large.
Maybe I've managed to get a tough scene to say "Uncle." 
Or chopped a huge chunk of writer's block down into itty-bitty pieces.
Or pushed "Send" on a submission.
Or  signed on the dotted line with a publisher.
Or finished the galley edits for my debut novel.
The best part of all those successes is how my writing friends have been happy for me.
Now here's the flip-side of this experience: Do I take the time to be happy for others when they experience success? 
Yes.
To be brutally honest, there are times I have to tell the green-eyed monster to go crawl in a hole where she belongs. Envying someone else's achievement is the quickest way to show up at their party and ruin all the fun. 
I made the decision early on my writing journey that I wanted to celebrate my friends' triumphs -- not diminish them by wishing they were mine. I want to be happy for my friends when they achieve something -- not be sad for myself. 

How have your friends celebrated your successes -- and how have you celebrated theirs?





17 comments:

  1. Beth,
    I enjoy celebrating with others. Know why? It is a testimony to me of how faithful God is. I know the hard road some have walked. I've watched them overcome huge health, family and job obstacles, so its a joy to see the results!

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    1. I love your attitude -- how you celebrate God working in others' lives, Alena!

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  2. Absolutely wonderful post, Beth. Especially since I'm just now getting this week's blog post reminder out. Yes, God made a bunch of us close (as in grapes? in a cluster? maybe) and we do truly pray for, hold our breath and then rejoice. My most recent time was celebrating me and others at natl. ACFW conf. being asked for proposals, full manuscripts, etc. I'm so glad to be part of such a group.

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    1. Wasn't the My Book Therapy "Shout Out" so much fun, Dee? I loved all the opportunities to "hApPy DaNcE" with and for others. One of the highlights of the conference for me!

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  3. My local writing friends surprised me with a wonderful chocolate basket and cake when I got my first contract. It was awesome. I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to celebrate others' victories, share opportunities, and encourage in the defeats. Your post is a great reminder.

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    1. What a wonderful way to celebrate your first contract, Sandra! Love it.

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  4. I'm on a journey with my writing partners. I love celebrating their victories, doing the Snoopy Dance, and I try consoling them when they face disappointments. In turn, they're so important in my life, either celebrating with or encouraging me.

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    1. You are one of the first people I call, Roxanne, when I have reason to celebrate. I know I wouldn't be where I am along the writing road if it wasn't for your encouragement and feedback.

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  5. I've loved getting to celebrate with you as your debut novel has hit the shelves and wowed readers. :) And I love the closeness I feel to so many other writers! I've heard that publishing can be this competitive, diva-filled industry...but I certainly don't see it in the Christian writing circles I've been in. Maybe it's out there in other circles, but among the Ponderers, in MBT, in ACFW, encouragement, support and mutual celebration is all over the place. I love it!

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    1. And I'm looking forward to celebrating with you, Melissa! It's going to be a lot of fun!

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  6. Beth, you've set the example of celebrating the big and small victories in my life and writing life. As I continue to travel the writing journey, I'm loving the chance to get to know and genuinely celebrate when others take the next step forward on the path God's mapped out for them. It makes this journey oh, so much richer and fulfilling!

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    1. Jeanne,
      Celebrating with you is loads of fun -- especially because we live so close to one another. Still on the list: celebrating our birthdays (just a bit belatedly.)
      :)

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  7. Beth,
    You have always been our cheerleader, thank you for your generous spirit!

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  8. Beth, you're one of the best celebrators I know!! I love celebrating my friends' achievements. Their successes remind me of the paths God has in store for each of us.

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  9. Most recently, my Ponderer friends celebrated my appearance at the MBT Pizza Party at the ACFW conference. My daughter, Sarah, and I find many reasons to celebrate together. If you can find no other reason, then just celebrate that this is the day the Lord hath made!!

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  10. One of my dear writing friends celebrated with me at the ACFW over one of my victories. She and my hubby made it so special for me. I could barely believe it was happening but my friend reminded me of my achievement all day long, and that was special :)

    Know what else was special? I loaned this friends book, Wish You Were Here, to a young lady at my church, she came up to me this week and said, "You don't know how God spoke to me thru that book, I wish I could tell the author how much it meant to me." I told her I could arrange it when she was ready, until then, to go and put a book review up on all the sites :)

    HaPpY DaNcE! just cuz I can.

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