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Publishing Success Stories and the Power of Positive Attitudes

We touched on this topic with yesterday’s positive attitude-focused Writing Challenge, I know. But your publishing success is more than worth its own blog post. So let’s get to the real question you writers want to know.

Will a positive attitude get you and your manuscript where you want to be? Can it guarantee you fame and fortune?

Today’s reality check of a Writing Rule says, “not necessarily.” But don’t let that discourage you. Don’t let it make you think that positive attitudes might not be worth your time and effort.

Just keep reading past the “not necessarily” to find the happily ever after every one of us craves.

Your attitude isn’t going to guarantee your publishing success.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the writers with good, go-getting attitudes got to go to publishing paradise while all the bad-attitude writers had to go elsewhere?

But we don’t have good attitudes for the fame and fortune. We have them because they’re worth so much more than that.

Looking up quotes about attitude for Tuesday’s blog post, I came across one by author David Bailey, who apparently said that, “A positive attitude can really make dreams come true. It did for me.”

That’s wonderful, and I’m happy for him. Yet with all due respect to David Bailey and his Dr. Who fans out there, positive attitudes are powerful, yes. But they’re not predictable. Not in the way he’s implying.

While there are plenty of positive-attitude authors out there who have found publishing success, there are also plenty of negative-attitude authors out there who’ve done the same.

That latter set might be arrogant, close-minded, fame-and-fortune focused, agenda-driven and/or exploitative, just to name a few unpleasant possibilities. Yet they still made it, they’re still making it, and they’re probably going to continue making it.


On the flipside, there are probably just as many negative-attitude hopeful authors as positive-attitude hopeful authors who haven’t made it, aren’t making it and probably never will make it if we’re defining “it” as publishing success and “publishing success” as a publishing contract big enough to live off of.

Great consolation, right?

Yet none of this is to discourage writers from maintaining a positive attitude. For one thing, fame and fortune are highly overrated when not accompanied by the right kind of emotional, mental and spiritual approach. Just ask the now exceptionally disgraced Matt Lauer how well his celebrity status and $28 million a year are helping him maintain his dignity.

Or, if you want a fellow writer to pick on, there’s former SNL writer and actor, and current U.S. Senator Al Franken to pick on. Judging by photographic evidence, he has an absolutely appalling attitude about women and what he can do with them. I don’t care if he’s willing to admit it or not, but his fame and fortune are not worth the cost of his reputation, his sense of self-worth or the lasting legacy he’s creating.

I’m genuinely not trying to be existential or spiritual or inspirational like a cheesy Hallmark greeting card here. It’s simply a fact that a positive attitude – one that’s determined and teachable and adventurous, confident yet empathetic, art-appreciating yet fact-checking – results in a lot more worthwhile outcomes than mere publishing success can provide.

It gives writers fulfillment in the moment and hope for the future, knowing that no matter whether they ever achieve stereotypical publishing success, fame and fortune, they’re still worth something. And so are their efforts.

That’s the power of a positive attitude. Which is very powerful indeed.

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