For someone like me who is athletically challenged, the words ‘Your are a winner!’ aren’t something I hear very often. For the second year in a row, I have been declared a winner, complete with a purple bar, by National Novel Writing Month. Their motto: 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon! I LOVE participating in this and winning.

My husband has always been good at sports and has a competitive streak in him that drives him to tackle new pursuits. Not always sports. In fact, other than watching sports it’s sort of a thing of the past. When I showed him the label on my NaNo page that said ‘Winner!’ he said “Who’d you beat? It looks like there are a lot of so-called winners.” Sigh.

So then I got to explain something to him that I don’t know that I quite understood myself before I said it out loud to him. The Win is completing the 50,000 words in 30 days. Or in my case 19 days. (Not a boast, just a sincere enthusiasm for accomplishing a personal best!) That personal best, competing against yourself, IS the point. I am a winner, not because I hit the goal before anyone else, but because I hit the goal AT ALL.

I touched on this briefly in my post, Running My Own Race. When I write better than I have ever written before, or accomplished something in my writing life that is a new achievement, then I have found success. And I think we need to celebrate all those successes as we go along. Because the joy is in the journey, not the destination.

Of course I want to see my name on the cover of a book in my favorite bookstore. That would be cool, right? BUT. And it’s a big one. I won’t wait until that happens to celebrate. Today, I’m a winner. In this moment. And it will be many moments like this that will propel me towards the bigger goals.

So I’ll jump around like a little kid every time I find success. I’ll enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. And I will use that momentum to move me along in my life.

And I’ll remember that writing is not a competition. At least not for me. I have a friend who did NaNo this year for the first time and she finished a full week before I did. Guess what? Her win didn’t take away from my win. In fact, her win lit a fire in me and made me work harder with better focus. I wasn’t threatened by her win.

I think the same is true in life. Someone else’s success does not somehow make me less. If you succeed at your goals and I succeed at mine – we are BOTH better off.

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