Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Being a Successful Writer

Success doesn’t always equal money and notoriety. The truth is, the definition of success for each writer is personal. It is not something that should be determined by outside forces, but it should be determined by looking deep within.

Every writer has to think about what it is he/she wants. For some writers, success means being able to make a living at writing. For others it might be to raise awareness about a certain cause, or to get stories published in a literary journal. Whatever it is, you need to decide. How you define success might change over time, but you should always be striving to reach your definition of success.

Once you decide what success looks like to you, then your action steps must support that.

If you are a magazine writer and success means making a living at writing, then you must pay attention to where you are submitting your queries and articles. If you constantly send to small, low-paying markets then you are going to disappoint yourself, because you will be working hard, but you will not be able to make a living at it. You must raise the bar for yourself and only submit to those markets that are going to pay you well for your time.

Or, let’s say you have defined success as having five of your short stories published in literary journals. Your time should be spent immersing yourself in that genre and becoming an expert in not only how to write short stories, but on what journals are out there. Then examining the process of getting your work published in them.

Don’t get caught up in the fallacy that the only successful writers are the one’s on the best-seller list, raking in the big bucks. It is not the case. Decide what kind of writer you want to be and be proud of your writing.


Kathryn said...

This is a really important topic for writers who make a living at their craft and an issue that I think most of us keep struggling to work out for ourselves. It took me a long time - and a lot of trial and error - to define for myself what success means to me as a writer. (Right now the working definition of "success" for me is being able to write original pieces from my own mind and make a decent living selling them - as opposed to writing what others want to pay me to write or writing creatively for little pay.) But I have a feeling that I'll keep tweaking that definition again and again!

Name: Luana Krause said...

I'm in the process of redefining my purpose as a writer. The points you brought up have given me food for thought. Thanks Kerrie.

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