People are Doing Well

It’s an amazing time, at least from where I’m sitting.

People are doing well. People are doing really well.

Not everybody, of course. I’m mainly talking about certain people who I follow on my Social Media, Twitter and Facebook. I know some of you are not doing so well, and I’m sorry about that. For the moment, though, let’s focus on those others.

It’s seems to be a golden time for people to find success and creative fulfilment, at least among the people I connect to. All at once, or so it initially seems, people are writing hit movies, heading for Hollywood, winning prizes, getting big book deals, bringing out new TV series, winning film awards. You name it, it’s happening.

And I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

I’m not going to name names. Some of you will know who some of the people are, some of you won’t have a clue (that’s both readers covered). It doesn’t matter, it’s not the point. The point is that people who I have watched and occasionally chatted-to for years and now getting what they have sweated for and what they truly deserve. It’s an uplifting thing.

“Gosh, Ken,” I hear you say, “aren’t you the big fella? Glad for everybody’s success, wishing everybody well. Not for a minute bemoaning your own significant lack of progress.”

Well, no, it’s not quite that simple.

There is a little envy. It would be foolish to say otherwise. The envy isn’t of success or money or prestige, oddly enough. It’s of the opportunity to tell the stories you have to tell and to know there is an audience there who will listen. That’s a marvellous thing and it’s a thing that all of us storytellers wish fervently for. As for myself, I tend to get it in my own small-but-satisfying ways and, although, I might aspire to more than that, I know the limitations that are on me.

So, yes, a little envy but only a very little. Generally the feeling is one of delight and encouragement and inspiration.

I’ve watched these people, you see, I’ve watched them for quite a while. They all have some pretty basic things in common. Pretty obvious things too, it must be said but, even though they may be obvious, they are still very real and well worth noting.

There are two things really.

1) They are talented.

2) They never gave up.

These people who are doing well, they weren’t always doing so well. Any when they weren’t, they may have got disheartened and lost their confidence and doubted their ability to succeed. But They Never Gave Up. Learn from that. Be encouraged. Go forward. Fail again. Fail better.

Maybe you will succeed and maybe you won’t.

But maybe, just maybe, you will.

The possibility is there to be seen, to be encouraged by. It can be done. But you have to be really good and, mark this, that alone isn’t enough. You have to sweat too.

The other reason that this is all so much fun and so encouraging is this. The ‘Top’ is not a sharp peak like some alpine mountain on a cereal box. There’s a small plateau up there. There’s still room enough for us, if we can be good enough, and work hard enough, and never, ever give up.

Well done, the people who are doing well.

Thanks for showing us how it can be done.


Jim Murdoch said...

In the early hours of this morning I finished reading Zuckerman Unboundby Philip Roth and when I went back to bed I found myself thinking about success and fame/infamy. In the novel a more-than-competent novelist who’s had three books published, a little critical acclaim but no real success suddenly is thrust into the spotlight on publishing what everyone takes to be a thinly-disguised autobiographical fourth novel, Carnovsky. Within days he can’t walk down the street before someone’s pointing him out to their friends or wanting his opinion on some matter. It’s hell for him. I have to tell you, Ken, I have nightmares about that level of success. Carrie’s just finishing off line editing The More Things Change and she tried to pay me a compliment earlier by comparing the quality of the writing to those authors she’s been reading recently. I’m not going to name names but I held my own amongst some serious company which I shrugged off as best I could but a part of me is actually terrified this one is going to be my Carnovsky because as soon as anyone reads the protagonist’s name they’ll think it’s me and that’s fine if only half a dozen of my friends read it but imagine if it got out there and made a name for itself. What separates one writer from another, a successful one from an unsuccessful one? Most successful ones would admit it’s probably luck and, as you say, not giving up so that you’re in the right place at the right time for the luck to strike. I would be happy with success—it’s a hard thing to define and there are levels—but I wouldn’t want fame in any shape or form and I certainly couldn’t handle infamy.

Karen Redman said...

A characteristically generous post, Ken.

Rachel Fox said...

I saw one of the doing well announcements you refer to on facebook and was just plain, old pleased when I saw it. The old blog family may have dispersed but the kids are doing fine...