Late summer has been a pleasantly surprising time for me this year. Unexpected success cropped up a couple of times when I least expected it.
I’ve been writing consistently since early 2016 after a two-decade hiatus. I started again as a way to cope with my feelings after a diagnosis that ended my running hobby. You can read more about it HERE.
Back in July, I wrote an articlesharing a personal account of an interaction I had with a friend. She’s Black. I’m White. I posted something online I didn’t realize had racist origins. The story is about what happened when she reached out to tell me so.
I’d written the article as a way of showing how people can interact in productive ways to promote racial understanding. Unexpectedly, traffic on the piece started to pick up about a month after I published it. It was then selected as a feature article on Medium. As of this writing, the piece has had over 80K views. In six weeks, it’s earned me over $2,000 also.
I was blown away that my little story about an exchange between two friends would evoke such a strong response, both positively and negatively. Lots of differing opinions filled the comments section. This situation taught me how important communication is about race and how much more work we have to do in America.
When writing the piece, I did not set out to make a lot of money or have it become a top story on Medium for a couple of weeks. I just wanted to share from the heart. And that’s the key.
Share from the heart, and good things will eventually come.
Another late summer surprise was being included in a list of the 107 top inspirational authors on Medium. A Medium writer I do not know included me on a listbased on his research. Honored and humbled, I was shocked to be included at all. I do not have a huge following, but my metrics still qualified me for a spot on his list.
For the 18 months I’ve been writing on Medium, I’ve viewed the platform as a place to employ the slow growth model. I believe patience and persistence are the best tools for becoming successful. Doing what we do consistently and being willing to wait really do work.
It’s true that striving for success can be exhausting when we don’t see results. Especially when you’re a writer or another type of creator. The product of our efforts is an extension of ourselves. When people appreciate our work and respond positively, it’s thrilling. When they don’t, it can be discouraging.
It’s human nature. Even though the act of creating is satisfying on its own, I don’t know many folks who don’t enjoy a bit of validation now and then.
That’s why unexpected success is the best kind. When we don’t go looking for applause or recognition and it shows up, it’s like stumbling upon treasure we weren’t hunting for.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Writing, painting, planning business strategies–whatever it is you’re passionate about. In time, unexpected success will show up at your door. It provides the shot in the arm needed to keep on plugging away. Until it does, keep at it. The world needs your creativity.
Tracy is a New Jersey writer who loves Earl Grey tea, spending time outside, and painting. She lives with her husband and children in a home where birdsong and rainstorms provide the soundtrack for her creative life.