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You didn’t write your book by accident, and your author career won’t take off by mistake. 

It starts with you. 

If you don’t believe in yourself, how will others believe in you? Flip that switch and know that you are doing the best you can, doing better today than yesterday. What is the value of that?

If you feel you can do it, you can. And then after you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you ever doubted yourself, just until you second guess yourself all over again. 

It’s not luck. It takes the determination of hours at the keyboard. It takes reading. It takes re-reading what you wrote—sometimes that’s the hardest part. But it shows your mettle, your tenacity. 

You fix your words and move on.

How many people have you heard say they wanted to write a book? How many have? You’re not comparing yourself to them but to yourself. You set out to write a book, and you did. You lived up to your word.

That deserves a celebration. That is an elite level of success. Then you sell your book to strangers. That’s your next level, the next step up the mountain of success.

No one is born an expert. It takes practice and dedication. It may seem like one person seems to have more innate storytelling talent than another. I would chalk that up to reading, always reading stories and analyzing, “What if?” What would make my story different? What holds my attention? 

And then you try, and your story doesn’t look anything like the one that inspired you. 

Of course not. Your first effort can’t be compared with someone else’s lifetime achievement. Your stories can only be compared with yours. 

The readers serve as the final arbiters. They will be hard, but they will be forgiving if you’ve delivered a good story, even if it could have been written better. 

Do that. Write the next one better. Practice. Read. Learn. And write some more. 

Believe in yourself, and others will come to believe too.

Picture of Craig Martelle

Craig Martelle

High school Valedictorian enlists in the Marine Corps under a guaranteed tank contract. An inauspicious start that was quickly superseded by excelling in language study. Contract waived, a year at the Defense Language Institute to learn Russian and off to keep my ears on the big red machine during the Soviet years. Back to DLI for advanced Russian after reenlisting. Deploying. Then getting selected to get a commission. Earned a four-year degree in two years by majoring in Russian Language. It was a cop out, but I wanted to get back to the fleet. One summa cum laude graduation later, that’s where I found myself. My first gig as a second lieutenant was on a general staff. I did well enough that I stayed at that level or higher for the rest of my career, while getting some choice side gigs – UAE, Bahrain, Korea, Russia, and Ukraine. Major Martelle. I retired from the Marines after a couple years at the embassy in Moscow working arms control. The locals called me The German, because of my accent in Russian. That worked for me. It kept me off the radar. Just until it didn’t. Expelled after two years for activities inconsistent with my diplomatic status, I went to Ukraine. Can’t let twenty years of Russian language go to waste. More arms control. More diplomatic stuff. Then 9/11 and off to war. That was enough deployment for me. Then came retirement. Department of Homeland Security was a phenomenally miserable gig. I quit that job quickly enough and went to law school. A second summa cum laude later and I was working for a high-end consulting firm performing business diagnostics, business law, and leadership coaching. More deployments. For the money they paid me, I was good with that. Just until I wasn’t. Then I started writing. You’ll find Easter eggs from my career hidden within all my books. Enjoy the stories.

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