I had few expectations when I started writing. I’d hoped to get published. That was about it. I hadn’t thought about reviews, didn’t know anything about “stars and RT” and I certainly hadn’t given any bestseller lists a thought.
I still try not to. My mantra has always been: Keep it about the writing. I tell myself that all that other stuff doesn’t matter. I judge each book by whether or not I like it. That keeps me happy and writing.
I don’t want to have expectations. Unfortunately, it isn’t always my expectations that I have to worry about.
My daughter used to love basketball. She played from the fifth grade up into high school. Her freshman year, new to the school and the coach, she ran into trouble. Most of the season she sat on the bench. I could tell that the coach was furious with her and she came home after every practice nearly in tears.
I knew something was wrong because Danielle was good at basketball. I waited though until the end of the basketball season before I went to talk to the coach. I asked him what the problem was.
“I told everyone that Danielle was going to be my star,” he told me. “She made me look bad because she didn’t play as good as I thought she would.”
The coach had put his ego and his expectations onto my daughter. The next year, Danielle played under a different coach and excelled. Her former coach couldn’t understand why she hadn’t played like that for him. A year later, he wanted her to play on the varsity team for him. She said she loved basketball too much to play for a coach like him and quit. Even now at thirty-eight, she has a hoop outside her house and still plays – for her own enjoyment.
After making the USA Today Bestseller list, I learned about expectations. One of my favorite quotes is from the television show, The Office. Michael says to his boss: I am so impressed by the potential you see in me.
The moment my husband and I heard it, we both started laughing. That is exactly the way I feel about my career right now. Once I made the list, expectations went up – not mine but my editor and publisher.
I don’t want to let them down but I also don’t want to end up benched because their expectations were too high.
More than anything, I don’t want to start having expectations of my own. I have goals and I work hard to keep growing as a writer. But I want my career to be like the way I write my books – never knowing how they end or whodunit. I like being surprised.
My only expectation right now is finishing my current book.