13 March 2015

Recap of "success as a writer" series

What is success for a writer? Is it plugging away at 500 words a day until you finally finish that book you've had in your head for the last 10 years? Is it getting signed with an agent or publisher? Getting a good review in the New York Times? Publishing a book that becomes a bestseller? Establishing a loyal readership? Selling the film rights to your book? Making millions? Becoming required college reading? Maybe it's all of those things. Maybe none of them.

Over the last several months I've been soliciting and publishing guest posts about different authors' definitions of success as a writer. Here's a quick recap:

For Kristen Strassel, who has seven books out, success "is a moving target" that, for now, means "to have people reading and enjoying [her] books."

Kiersi Burkhart, who already has an agent and an international book deal, defines success as writing full-time and making a living off it.

Ruthanne Reid's definition of success has changed over time from being a bestselling author with a movie deal and fanfic based on her work to writing something that she's "proud of and happy with" and that doesn't "leave [her] burned out and angry when [she's] through."

For Ebony Williams, who's on the verge of self-publishing her third novel, success means having "a nice following of people who believe in all that [she does]."

Although Scott Burtness has self-published one novel and has a second on the way, he doesn't consider himself to be an author yet, much less a successful one, nor will he until he's made more money on book sales than he spends on publishing and marketing.

For me, success means making just enough money writing what I want to be able to justify spending the time on it that I want to, making a difference in people's lives with what I write, and continuing to challenge myself and grow as a writer.

Nancy Christie also has several criteria for success: being happy with what's she's written, having it accepted for publication, and getting positive feedback from readers.

To finish off the series, Maree Miller confessed that although she's in the process of querying her first novel, for her, it felt like a huge success just to finish it so she could move on her to writing the next one.

What's your definition of success as a writer? How will you get there?

Need help figuring out what success looks like to you? Or maybe you already have your definition but need some support to achieve it. Writing coaching can help you articulate your goals, identify what you need to learn to accomplish them, break goals down into manageable tasks, stick to your timeline, navigate challenges and celebrate your accomplishments.

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