July 10, 2012

Brilliant Advice, Whoever You Are

The other day, I was in my lovely local bookstore, where my Little Book of Anxiety is still one of their Top Ten bestsellers. It got as high as number four, and is now down to number nine, which is still a pretty great achievement.

I was feeling happy about my little book, until I glanced up at the books selling at number one, number two and number three.

Fifty Shades. Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed.

These books have sold about a billionty copies (okay, 20 million, but who's counting?*). And suddenly, my own tiny little book seemed, well, grey in comparison.


'What's the point?' I asked my four year old, who was browsing through Dora books and had nothing constructive to say.

'What's the point?' I asked my friend Kylie, who's a writer and understands exactly how I'm feeling. What's the point, I meant, of being in this business? What's the point, I meant, of writing books, of working my arse off, when my greatest successes will be so far removed from the dazzling heights reached by others?

And Kylie said something that struck a chord with me. She said, 'Don't compare yourself to others. Swim your own race**. YOU are your competition, and no-one else.'

And I felt better, immediately.

I can't write a Fifty Shades, and I really wouldn't want to. And I may never sell a billionty books (though that certainly would be nice). But I can keep on trying to be the best me I can be, which is ultimately the only role I'm qualified for, anyway.

And I think that goes for you, too, whoever it is you are. Agree?

*Me

**This was a metaphor. Kylie's daughter is a swimming champ. I avoid the water whenever possible.

30 comments:

  1. I seem to remember Mumma Ladd was no mean swimmer herself? simple words but true ... set your own targets, work towards them, judge yourself not by external and often irrelevant standards. pity I am so bad at following my own advice *sigh*. xT

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  2. Love it. Rings true. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. You are already billionty shades of lovely & I agree with Kylie... She is a wonderful friend for you xxx

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  4. And, Kerri, what you have to pat yourself on the back for (among other things) is that if your book reached 4th on a list dominated by THREE Fifty Shades books, then technically that makes your book SECOND on the list!! Surely the Fifty Shades Trilogy counts as one book only! So, great job and congrats on making it to 2nd in a top 10 list! And on putting out 2 great books, of course!

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  5. Kerri, you know you can write, and more importantly, you LOVE to write. That's good enough for your many fans, one of which my humble self is happy to be, or something.... :-D

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  6. Don't you think writing a book that helps people is much more noble than a book that makes women hot and flustered for a day? :-)
    I know I do, and I am ever so grateful you wrote your little book!

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  7. Well said. As the great Dr Seuss said, 'Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You'.

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  8. I'm a little addicted to Dr Seuss, I just love the rhythm and flow of his words but more importantly, the little hidden messages in there. Love it. You're welcome x
    (http://handmadetearsandtriumphs.blogspot.com.au/)

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  9. A lot of us aspire to be able to create what you have so pat yourself on the back. We can only be who we are and there will always be someone out there who seemingly is more successful but it depends on how you measure success? Life is multi-faceted.

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  10. Your books are a BILLIONTY times better than those 50 Shades of Crap books. The End.

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  11. Swim your own race. Great words to live by.

    However, I could see 50 Shades of White (how to improve your whites using Bleach, sunlight and Nipple clamps) being a top seller.

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  12. Ellie at Emerald PieJanuary 13, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    "Swim your own race" - thats great advice. I must remember it when my daughter is feeling down and comparing herself to others. By the way, I love the pizza post!! Made me laugh out loud and scare the dog!

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  13. Kerri, you are awesome.
    So there.

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  14. Oh love I know what you mean. And the quality *ahem* of 50 Shades just makes it all the more... frustrating. This was indeed excellent advice. Love your work xxx

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  15. It's so hard to do though isn't it? Might print off Kylie's advice and stick it by the computer to remind me.

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  16. Kerri your books,no matter how many they sell, will always be of far greater value than those top three because your words Help People.
    How wonderful is that!
    For every book of yours that someone buys you know in your heart that is another who is reaching out for help for themselves or a loved one and your beautifully written words ARE going to make a difference.
    To me that is the greatest success of all.xx

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  17. I don't know... I can feel 50 Shades of Anxiety and Washing Up coming on. It would totes sell a billionty copies...

    Ahem.

    You do what you do. It's all you can do. And it's pretty damn great.

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  18. Thank you for this blog. It has made me feel better about myself. Kerri your books are fantastic especially the Anxiety book. In regards to how copies you sold, it's more important to know that you have helped so many people and made a great difference in their lives. You are awesome and someone I now admire and can look up to!!

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  19. I had similar feelings about the Twilight books. It's not fair!, I lamented.


    But also, I have yet to bang out a whole book so I have to give even underwhelming writers props for that. It's a monumental task.


    The take away lesson is your next book MUST feature nipple clamps. You can do it, Kerri.

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  20. Your book is helping people to cope and manage their anxiety, the 50 Shades series is helping people to contract STDs (okay maybe not but a lot more chance of doing so than practising anything that your book says). You are doing the world great service :o)

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  21. Please do not aspire to write anything like 50 Shades of Crap because the one thing more important than selling a billionty copies is keeping my respect. That IS more important, right Kez? Kez? Hello?

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  22. When I graduated from uni my dad told me never to compare myself to others and to only do what is right for me. At the time I never really got what he was saying but now I often replay his wise words in my head. That Kylie Ladd is smart...much like my dad. Xo

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  23. A-fucking-gree. Kylie is smart like that x

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  24. There is always a trilogy hogging the best seller list these days, I say you can just ignore all three and say you're in about position 6 ;)

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  25. There is absolutely no point in comparing Kez. You are unlike any other writer out there at the moment. You are ahead of your game, and certainly 1000 times better for a lot of us than 50 Shades. My husband may have gotten a few sexy nights out of my reading of the trilogy, but you've given my soul a rest. And THAT my love, is worth gold xxx

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  26. It doesn't matter if you use them to hang the washing with, they're still nipple clamps and will attract a gazillion readers :)

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  27. I hear you, Kerri!

    As the author of the humorous relationship advice manual, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, I'm still waiting for the money truck to roll up to my front door.

    In the meantime, it's just a lot of hard work - self-promoting, writing for free etc. I wouldn't mind so much if I was a lottery winner/trust fund baby. But there's a little something called 'NEEDING MONEY TO LIVE'! It's a juggling act.

    Might I recommend you watch How to Make it in America (Season 1 is on DVD/Blueray and Season 2 comes out on September 5). It's not about writing but it's all about 'hustling' on the streets of NYC. Life is a hustle. Learn to love it! :-)

    ellyklein.com

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  28. Don't like that Kylie. She posts gorgeous photos of Broome while we're suffering a cold, wet winter. Though I have to grudgingly admit, she does give good advice.

    I'll be Fifty Shades of Grey lady author hasn't met Simon Baker...

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  29. I've also been thinking a lot about comparison lately (comparison being the thief of joy - etc etc).


    Deb

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