The year’s most important holiday passed last week for millions of Jews across America and the world. Yom Kippur is a day of atonement for one’s sins, where we reflect on our past year of transgressions and shortfalls, ask for forgiveness from God, and vow to do better this time around. Authors, whether Jewish or even religious, could benefit from a day of forgiveness.
Yom Kippur is a little like setting resolutions for the new year, laced with moments of guilt, anguish, sadness, and fear. In the end, no one judges us more harshly than we do of ourselves. Take accountability and ownership for yourself — show contrition and then commit to improving. That is the formula for success.
Many went to temple and said prayers they had not said in at least a year or longer. The holiday is a time of communal renewal, part AA meeting for those who fell off the wagon, part self-help seminar, Oprah-style. It is a blend of confession and promise, a time to cast away old behaviors and to form new, positive habits — right now.
Authors need a day of forgiveness. They will want to forgive others of their transgressions. They will seek forgiveness from others for any wrongdoings. They also need to forgive themselves.
Whom shall authors forgive?
who lacked the foresight to publish their work.
outlets that failed to see the benefit of interviewing the author.
reviewers who may have been overly harsh in their criticisms.
*Family and friends who were not as supportive or understanding of you and your needs as they should have.
Whom did authors wrong that require apologies?
writers that authors unfairly dismissed out of jealousy.
and friends whom they didn’t tend to out of selfish needs to write.
that they fought with.
*Literary agents or publishers that they declined to work with over misperceptions of what was being asked of the author.
What do authors need to forgive themselves of?
taking to addictive substances and behaviors due to stress as a writer.
lashing out at those closest to them when they felt misunderstood or
failing to commit to being a better writer.
*For not bring a more active book promoter.
We should embrace the words I came upon in my synagogue’s holiday prayer book:
way we act,
way we speak?
The way we meet God’s image in ourselves and in others — these things have great power to make our lives matter.”
How you act, speak, and think — as writers and humans — matters. Know your impact and now go out there with renewed hope and ambition.
Yes, forgive others and yourself dear author, and ask others to do the same of you. You don’t need a religion or a holiday to do this. Just reaffirm your belief in yourself as a writer, rededicate your efforts to get published and market books, and understand that we are all human and make mistakes and fall short of expectations and goals.
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