I love writing, and I have a book published, but that is only one part of what I define as success in writing. I could sell a million books, but if I don't think that what I wrote is good enough for me, then I will be unhappy with whatever the results come my way, and that includes making money. I can write a book that I am happy I took the time to create, and if it sells even one book, then that to me is also a success.
Success In Writing Is Up To You
We all define success in our writing, in a very personal way, and one way you can define your success is by selling book, but is there another way?
Money and a Successful Writer
What Does Money Have to do With a Successful Writer?
There is an issue which needs to be addressed when you define what success in writing is to you. This issue is money. No matter how someone defines success there is always a need to have money from your writing to continue to write what you want to create.
Successful writers understand this. It took me a long while to understand that part of writing. It simply means that earning a penny for you each day will not allow you to pay your bills. This is where you will need another job.
The problem is that to most writers that doesn't sound like success. It sounds like failure.
It isn't, in fact it is simply being realistic with your goals. I know I can work harder, but if I want to improve my work I need to not be worried about when my next pay check will come and when I will earn enough to pay for basic needs.
Money has a lot to do with a successful writer, and if I am not worried about money, then I am more likely to learn how to improve and how to deal with rejection. Rejection is a part of any writer's life, and
I can be happy with my writing and the book I have written. I have greater success now that I have written on Wizzley because it taught me that money is not everything but that quality is. It also taught me to be happy and enjoy what I write.
My definition when it comes to money and a successful writer is this: I am a successful writer when I can build on my goals and improve my writing so that people will want to purchase another book written by me. I am also successful if what I wrote makes me passionate and want to continue writing.
I have learned that money is important but that a successful writer needs more than just income from their writing. The next step is publishing and selling a book, and that has the same definition as money and writing.
Publishing Books and Selling Them
I believe that the most successful authors here and elsewhere have one thing in common, they have a passion for what they write, and they have a passion for improving what they write. They have faced and built on rejection and learned from it.
The same holds true with publishing books. I have published one book, and while its sales would not be considered "good" but that doesn't mean I don't think of this book as a success. I loved the process of writing the book. I enjoyed learning how to improve on what I wrote, and I found that with a lot of support in many different places, my passion for the topic grew.
There is more to simply saying you have a book, I know that I have said this before, but there is a part that I didn't learn, or want to learn, which is selling books to readers. You have to have a passion about marketing, and in many ways I had to justify marketing my book to myself, and not my writing.
I also needed to define what makes for a successful book. It is not about the readers if I am only focused on what a reader will read, and earn me income. I need to think about my writing, if I am happy with what I wrote, and find joy in it, then bad reviews, good reviews, rejections and praise will not be something that I will be emotional about.
It is just like money, if you write to earn income, then you will only focus on selling your books, and you will not be happy with whatever income you earn. If you publish a book that you love, and that you have passion for, it still won't matter what you earn, but you will be happy with your writing.
What I published is good enough for me, I learned from it and improved. In the end, when it comes to publishing that is all that matters.
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thank you for your comment, I think this will work out into another article. It's a good take about being overconfident with success.
I like the message here that success is a subjective thing that each individual person can define for themselves. Personally, I don't like the idea of success vs. failure, because I think it can hold people back. If we label ourselves or a situation a failure, it can make us feel bad, and hinder us from focusing on positive things we can take away from situations that did not turn out the way we wanted them to. But I find "success" can also be a hindrance--leading people to become overconfident, when in reality there is always room for growth and improvement.
I also struggle with a lot of the things you talk about here. I write a lot and I only make a small amount of supplemental income from my writing. But I care most about influencing people and society, and getting ideas out there, and I think I have had much more of an impact because that is my goal more than making money.
Then I should write about that.
sheikamarie- well put, and success is what you make of it!
As frugalrvers said, we each must define our own idea of success. I'm always interested to read how writers make money.
Whether we are "successful" as writers depends on so many things. Writing as a vocation and writing as a business are two different aspects. I also feel I'd like to earn a living with my writing; however, I don't judge my ability to successfully write a story or a poem on whether my business skills are up to snuff -- in other words, on whether I am successful at selling the piece of writing. Commercial success is real and does a lot to help one continue to have the means -- that is to say, the free time and the confidence -- to continue perfecting one's writing skills and to produce new pieces. That being said, quality is what matters the most and is what determines whether your writing will resonate with readers now and into the future.
yes, and I have learned from the best =)
keep on being passionate, and love what you do!
well said! I do like the $500 a month example... to some that's huge and to others, well it's not.
I think success, if it is to include the part about earning a living wage/money, will always have a different definition to people...how could it not?
If someone has $5000/month in bills and someone, like me, has $500/month...well, I wouldn't need to make much to feel like I am a success at what I do (I'm "making a living...my writing supports me!").
But that doesn't mean that someone who has a lot of expenses, who can't earn a living through his/her writing, isn't successful.
We're musicians and from a music viewpoint, we know people who live simply and make a living with local gigs - and some who are popular but still work 9 to 5. They are all "successful" in my book, because they love songwriting and they have fans who love their work. I don't think the money can play into that.