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Monday, March 30, 2015


Today we were in Wal-Mart, looking for a few things, but mostly it was a day to roam and wander. In the pharmacy department, I happened to see a sign that read FREE. Free what? It was a bright shiny new kiosk to take your own blood pressure. I thought Wal-Mart had gotten rid of that, but here was a new one.
In this one, it was like sitting in a little space capsule, almost hidden, almost private. I love machines that tell me something about myself.

So, I sat down.

On the bright screen was a message: START. I punched the button and learned right away I could learn more than my blood pressure from this very cool machine. It would also tell me my BMI (Body Mass Index, that is weight relative to my height.) It would also tell me my risk of having a serious disease, and my chance of a long healthy life.

Now, do you think I want to know all this? You bet I do.

So, I went about the process of measuring...MY SUCCESS.

First--Blood Pressure. By the time I finished this simple process I learned my blood pressure was--105/75. Really? REALLY? Isn't that very low? Wouldn't I feel lightheaded or something with such a low blood pressure? True, my BP is regularly rather low, but it's usually around 120/ 80. The machine might be a bit off.

Second--BMI. I was instructed by the pretty lady on the screen to place my feet on the bars under the edge of my seat--in other words, take my feet off the floor. I did so. Then I was asked my height. Five feet-Six, I punched. The results? Excellent. Good weight for my height.

Third--my diet. Do I eat 4-6 servings a day of fruits and vegetables? Yes, I live on those and carbohydrates, mostly in the form of pasta. After this test of several questions, I was ranked--Excellent.

Fourth--my chances of living a long life.

Do I exercise regularly every day for at least thirty minutes? No. I am quite lazy.

Do I smoke? No, never.

Do I binge on alcohol? No. Only drink moderately.

Do I have relatives with diabetes? No.

Do I have relatives with heart disease. Yes.

After this test, I was ranked Good--not Excellent--but Good. And it will stay that way because I probably won't exercise any more than I do now. Didn't I say I was lazy?

But these are physical tests.

If you are an author, you knew I would sooner or later get around to measuring our success by the number of sales we made recently or the rankings on our books. This is the time of year for reflection--the 1099s that arrive from our publishers that tell us how much money we made during 2014.

If you are a reader you will have some other way of measuring success.
For example, are you happy? Are you at least somewhat successful? Do you wonder what else you could have done?

All of the above, in my case. Yes, I'm reasonably happy, but not completely satisfied. I surely know I could have done more.

But do I feel successful? Yes, and I'll tell you why.

I began writing late in life, so whatever I accomplish now is only a plus, a big present wrapped up in shiny paper with a big red bow. To write stories and have wonderful publishers who like my work and puts them out in ebook and beautiful prints is one of the most thrilling things I've done. And I've accomplished other things later in life that surprised even me.

I never thought I'd  go to college at age 27 and get two degrees.
I never thought I'd be fortunate enough to teach in a wonderful private military boarding school until I retired.
I never thought I'd learn to play golf at age forty. I never thought I'd suddenly begin to write fiction when I'd never thought of it in my entire life.

How Do You Measure Success? It's all relative, don't you see? Think on the positives, and look forward to trying something new to boost your own success.

Every day is a new day to begin again.

Good luck to you all--and think...SUCCESS!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
My Website
My Blog
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
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  1. It's never too late to learn something or start a new venture. My definition of success is never giving up. (Even though I sometimes feel like it.)

    1. You are so right, JD. I don't like to give up. Long ago, I formed a loose group called DWABS...those of us that have the "Dog With A Bone Syndrome." That's me...that's many people I know. I thought we deserved a club with a real name...haha.

  2. Celia, what an inspiring blog today! Just what I needed. I will count my
    blessings and list my successes in my life so far and be grateful. I have often said that I've done everything I really wanted to do, but just not enough of some of those things so I'll keep on reaching for new goals. Don't they say it's not the goal but the journey toward it that really matters?

    1. Hey, LInda!! Oh, thank you for coming by. I write these blogs and then wonder if anyone will come by. You know the feeling. So, thank you, thank you, for your comment. Yes, it truly is the journey..not the goal. Once you reach that pinnacle...isn't there only the way down from there? Good point, and I appreciate it.

  3. Celia, I have the same feeling towards my writing career. I tell my grown kids outside of being their mother and being my husband's wife, writing is my passion in life. I feel very blessed to have found it. If it hadn't been for my daughter Mindy's encouragement I never would have tried. My book, Saigon Moon would have been added to the stack of stories I wrote through the years. Looking back I dreamed of traveling, of course in my teens it was to go and live in New York City with my two best friends Dee Dee and Becky to share an apartment and find our true passions in our young lives. I never did make it to New York. My writing takes me to wonderful places, places I may never see but in my writer's mind I'm there. Do I feel like I'm bet.

    1. Barb--you are so fortunate to have family that supports you and appreciates what you're doing. A daughter's encouragement would have pleased me the very most. Oh, all of us had dreams of one kind or another that did not come true. But I think dreams are only part of our inventive/creative minds. Thanks so much for taking time to write a comment.

  4. Thank you Celia. LIke you I'm late to the writing life. Always a voracious reader, turning to writing was a natural process to me. Now, I've always written, starting as a child, but it was plays, my passions for performing winning out over almost everything else. I've done that, loved it. Had a career that fulfilled me and a life I now enjoy. Have I sold a lot of books, no I haven't, but I've not written that many. Will I sell a lot? It doesn't matter in the long run. If my stories touch one person, I've done my job. And I love telling stories, and more will come. Thank you for helping to put it all in perspective. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

    1. Doris! It's all a journey, it's all a game, it's all an adventure! Whether or not we hit the jackpot is beside the point. It's clear, though, that you do have a lot of talent for writing. Isn't it the most fun thing? And I've done other things that were great fun, like playing golf. I LOVED that. Now? All I can think of is writing. Keep it up, dear friend.

  5. As always, I love reading about your thoughts, feelings, and personal journey, Celia. Although my successes and life goals may have been different in some areas from yours, I can relate to so many of them.

    I wanted to be a writer from the time I was 9. I wanted to go to college and take English as a major so I could write as a living. But I came from a very practical family and my only options for college had to be in the medical field. I became a critical care nurse and made a decent living. It was satisfying in many ways, but I was not content. I submitted stories from the time I was 13. I took classes here and there and worked constantly with my goal to be good enough to be published. It was frustrating and sometimes disheartening. I gave up several times along the way. I was 49 when I finally got my first publication contract. I wept for joy. I always felt a little inferior because it took me so long. I would see writers published in their early twenties and wonder what I was doing wrong. I guess it goes to show how persistence and a focused goal can overcome limitations and barriers. I guess the very fact that none of my successes came easily, made them all the more precious to me.

    You're right about automatic blood pressures in department stores; they are inaccurate. You take good care of your health. You're doing great.

    1. Sarah--Isn't it interesting how our lives turn out. I believe it's one of God's blessings for us not to know what coming, but take those events as they come and maybe make something of them. It's the mystery and the thrill of something new and fun. Listen, getting a contract at age 49 seems like a gold plated event. I was much older when I got my first one, and it was like I was playing a game--can I really get a contract for something I wrote. Oh, it's a fun, fun ride. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I started writing in my 50s, and am a bit jealous of those in my RWA Chapter who began earlier and are doing quite well. I try to think positive, since I do have 7 books out, but I get mad at myself because I'm such a slow writer. Also, I wish I sold more books. I'm still waiting for a bestseller! About blood pressure - I use a machine at home, but don't take mine everyday, because I get nervous when I take it. When I get a high reading, then it's hard for me to calm down, and the next one can be high as well. All that stuff telling us how to stay healthy sometimes can make us unhealthy!

  7. Hi, Morgan--I was in my mid-sixties before I even wrote a word, let alone get anything published. So, I've only been at this about ten years. But when I began, it was like the stories were gushing out--stories I didn't even know I had. Most of us are harder on ourselves than others are. I think you have a good attitude and demeanor..just move along and strive for your goals. Maybe you'll make it...maybe you won't. That's the way I work. I won't get all stressed about any of it. Have fun.


  8. Celia,

    I've been a writer since early elementary school. I began writing my first *serious* attempt at a novel (which ended up being my first published novel) when I was 22-ish years old. It took me about 25 more years to even think about publishing it. I published it in 2006 and I just received my rights back on it. *sigh*

    I, too, decided to go to college in an untraditional way: 28 yrs old and divorced after 10 yrs of marriage and with sole custody of my three young children. I earned a teaching degree, then I went on with a masters in special education. It's interesting to me that so many of the sister Roses share a similar 'beginning'.

    On the successes... Success for me is every time I put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard and manage to get even a few words down on whatever story I'm working on. I have to keep my writing progress in the "Baby Steps" mode, because if I think too much about my previously published stories being currently unavailable and that I need to run a 2nd edition edit on them ASAP, or how far behind I am in word count for to meet the May 1st deadline for the upcoming PRP summer anthology, I find my creative process freezes, and I just stare blankly at the paper/screen with drool trickling from the corner of my mouth. *grin*

    Funny how we play mental mind games with ourselves sometimes.

    1. Kaye--I think a lot of us around the same age--probably I'm a little older-began our "coming out" during the 60's. I did, and I know many others did, too. During the fifties, I was the perfect new wife who had one baby, then another, and my husband....and my mother...expected me to remain in the home and be the proper mommy and wife.
      But the 60s broke open a lot of doors and crashed down many barriers. I had been taught to be that mommy and wife, when suddenly I realized women my age were burning their bras and the guys were burning their drafts cards, for God's sake!
      Well, I got caught up in that, and as I've said many times, my bra was not big enough to make much of a flame, so instead, I entered college at age 27. I cannot tell you how many my age I knew who did the same thing. Suddenly, my sweet husband had to cope with a wife very different from the one he married! I had kicked the sides of the box, just like a little boy throwing a tantrum.
      I'm glad you kept hanging in there until you got that first contract. first contract was in 2006, too. And my computer files held five more manuscripts.
      Wow, amazing, isn't it? I felt like stories were just gushing out of me....and I sense you felt the same way. It's a wonderful life, isn't it?

  9. Hi Celia, I enjoyed your post as always. It's funny how so many of us feel the same way--how we used to measure success verses how we measure success today. For years I thought success was measured in numbers--number of patients I helped heal in the home(I was a Public Health home care nurse), the amount of money I or hubby made, how many things I could accomplish at home and elsewhere, then reality hit and I realized health, happiness, friends and family were the most precious and success, true success, is measured in happiness and satisfaction. For half of my life I dedicated my life to family, friends, medical work, then in the middle of the road I realized I wanted to write. Wrote for years and gathered a gamut of rejections, sat on them for a while and almost gave up writing. But determination--and I believe every writer has that in him or her, won out. I got out my last story, added humor and revamped it, and bingo! And now since entering the new chapter in my life, I'm lovin' life as I write from the heart and make new friends--other authors, readers, and esp. everyone at PRP. That's success. Wishing you the best. And keep the great post coming.

  10. Celia, did you see the big smile that took over my face? What a lovely post! I'm always learning from you, especially about positivity. How could anyone remain sulky or mired in the "poor me" place around you? We should all count our blessings more often. :-)

    That machine sounds entirely too smart. I'm not sure I want to know that much about myself! :-D

    BIG HUGS!!!!

    1. I love those kinds of machines. It's a form of mini-entertainment. See? It doesn't take much to make me happy. I'm so glad you smiled! That, in itself, made me happy. Interesting about that machine. You'd think people would line up to use it...but every time I've seen it, it was empty. I guess most people don't want a machine giving them information about themselves.
      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Celia, I always think back to you and I being "newbies" together at TWRP and how it was such a "whole new world" for us. We've come a long way, baby! LOL

    I am like you--my outlook has changed so much. I used to want to get an agent more than anything. Well, after three different agents (and some of them with well-known names!) I realized that was not the way to go for me. One of them even told me she wanted me to try writing an Amish romance rather than what I was writing, as it was "all the rage, now"--OK, y'all stop laughing---I know you're cracking up imagining ME writing an AMISH ROMANCE. There was just no way I could do that. Because I knew what I was best at--and if we can't write what's in our hearts, what good is it?

    Great post, as always.

    1. Cheryl--Those were the days, weren't they. I learned so much in those first two years, mostly from negative remarks and editors who were not kind. I also had one of the best editors early on, and she "held my hand" and walked me through the process of editing/re-writing my first book.
      Amish stories might not fit you, but I feel certain you could write one if you tried. Remember the movie "The Outsider?" I think the female lead was Mennonite, but to me it's almost the same thing. Well, that story could have been yours! Wounded hero, etc. and while there were no sex scenes, it was a very sensual emotional love story.
      So. You never know.
      Thanks for taking time to visit.

  12. Beverly--it's wonderful, isn't it? I think we're probably programmed to succeed in our early lives, versus we learn we don't have to please everyone else in our later lives. I've seen and heard this over and over. When young, most of us feel a deep obligation from our teaching at home to "be a good girl and do your lessons,: "Be a good girl and clean up the kitchen; or Be a good girl and make those straight "A's". Later, we learned we could make our own decisions, regardless of what a mother or a husband thought, and maybe this is our really fun time in our lives.
    I'm so happy you are thrilled to write and make yourself happy. It's really not easy, though, because all your family is not going to be pleased. I'm so lucky because my husband thinks I'm a genius now, when he didn't when I taught high school biology and anatomy and physiology and...I was chair of the school's science department. You see? That was just expected.
    Now? He is thrilled for every little thing I write...and oh, it's so lovely.

  13. Very inspiring post, Celia. I started writing many years ago but didn't publish until 2010. Now I'm trying to find my marketing legs. It's not easy! My days are long, my sleeping time too short. I often wonder why I'm doing this to myself, but then a find a lovely review from a reader I've never met and I know it's all worthwhile.

    1. Lyn--I hear you about the marketing. There's just no easy way to do it, and you can't just let it go. No one would see your name. Over the years, I've weeded out a few things I was doing for marketing, lightening my load, if you will, but then adding something that worked better and took less time.
      We're so easy to please, aren't we? One good review and we're as pleased as can be.
      Thanks for taking time to make a comment.

  14. A fascinating post, Celia, which made me start thinking about how I measure 'success'. I've achieved quite a few things during my life that people may consider as 'success', but I think my 'problem' is that I am never satisfied and could always do better! Maybe that's the thing that keeps me going.. and going...

    1. Paula--do true, and I second that thought. I don't think any of us are completely satisfied. Even with my very first book back in 2006, I see how I could have written that story better. Fortunately, I just got the rights back to it, and now can revise it some.
      That drive "to always do better" is innate in writers, I think. I hope so, anyway. Thanks for stopping by the Prairie Rose Publications Blog.

  15. Your post hit the nail on the head, as usual, Celia. Success is a strange bird, isn't it? I feel successful every time I read a fan letter, or a nice review, or write The End. Occasionally, I'll get a big check and that doesn't hurt, either. But I always have this nagging feeling that I should be doing more and doing it better, too. I have to constantly remind myself "Don't compete, don't compare, and don't keep score."

    By the way, I won't go within ten yards of that machine in Wal-Mart!

    1. Jacquie--Haha..I think that's probably why the machine is always empty now, when I see it. Most people probably don't want to know their statistics.
      Yes, I agree with you. Even though we do feel good about each step and each accomplishment, that puts us right back at the beginning to "do better the next time." And it's too easy to compare ourselves with others. But each person we're using as a role model, is doing the same thing...thinking "I could do better."
      Thank you for coming by.

  16. Success...The final frontier...These are the voyages of the Starship Maggie...

    Seriously, I consider writing a terrific adventure and I've made some darn good friends along the way. I've visited Planet Romance, Planet Mystery, and Planet Science Fiction. I enjoy writing and I enjoy hearing back from readers who get what I get.

    How do I measure success? Traditional measures are nice: sales and book rankings, but other than writing your best book each time, sales and rankings are out of your control. I measure success in the respect of my peers, in the hands that reach out to help when I stumble, in the people I might in some way be able to help. I measure success by how much enjoyment I derive from writing and from the people I meet along the way.

    AKA Rigel Carson in scifi land

    1. Maggie--I do love your definition of success. If I read it right, you appreciate respect, enjoyment, and helping hands. I could not have said it better. In the end, rankings and money are not those things that touch our heart. And writers, in general, write from the heart.