On the bulletin board above my desk, I keep a handful of quotes that have taught me something, or that I hope to learn from.
Failure is very cleansing, and success is very confusing.
—M. Night Shyamalan, in Vulture
I did not expect to find such a clarifying thought when I read this interview with the director. But there it was. And it was a little familiar, too. None of my novels has torn up the sales charts. But selling a novel to a publisher at all, that was a real moment of success for me. It was a little confusing to realize that what was a big moment for me was a fairly common one in the publishing industry, and sobering to understand the role I occupied was a very small one, with very little influence.
That realization was liberating, too, though. It reaffirmed my commitment to the thing I can influence and control, which is the work itself, and helped me to separate my emotions from the things I have no power over, like how many copies are sold, or what marketing efforts are made.