How Do You Define Writing Success?

"Visualize this thing you want.  See it, feel it, believe in it.  Make your mental blueprint and begin."  Robert Collier

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The importance of getting clear

We're all well-versed in goal-setting, becoming certain about what we want, and visualizing our outcomes. Knowing what you want is a no-brainer, because how can you get "there" if you don't know what your "there" is?  This process is often compared to traveling without a map.  Sure, you can get from New York to Los Angeles without one, but your route is apt to be far from the least efficient path if you go any which way that presents itself.  

As writers, it is paramount that we understand what we want to achieve.

It's just that these days there are so many possible paths that might get us to writing success.  And it's difficult to achieve clarity on what we want when there are so many options.  Let's look at some of them.

 

Paths to Success

Legacy publishing

Indie publishing

Teaching/coaching

Freelance writing

Ghostwriting

Novel writing

A myriad of choices. But which one is the path that is your heart's desire?  Maybe it's a path I didn't list here, who knows?  Only you.

Years ago, I was doing a lot of feature writing for newspapers and regional magazines. I'd go interview somebody and come home and shape it into a story.  But increasingly as I progressed in my career, I found that I wanted to make stuff up because it would create a better story.   I'd look over the quotes from the interview and find myself wishing that the interviewee had said something just a little different, because it would be so much more interesting that way.  This is when I turned to learning the craft of fiction.

The Path Gets Muddy

And, then there's the slight problem of making a living.  Most fiction writers don't exist financially on their novels and stories alone.  They have to teach, or freelance, or ghostwrite, or something.  And when doing something else, it is oh so easy to get distracted by it, lured into thinking that this is what you really want to do.

This has happened to me.  Even though since the day I started writing fiction I knew I wanted to be a novelist, I've taken a number of creative U-turns along the way, mostly for the sake of earning a living.  I've taken on soul-sucking ghostwriting jobs and convinced myself this kind of writing was great.  I've let business coaches cajole me into focusing on branding myself as a content and copywriter–areas I'm not good at and that I loathe.  And I've been enticed by the lure of internet information marketing. When all I really wanted to do was write novels. 

It's very, very easy to lose your way when the path gets murky.

And that is my point today.  If you can get very, very clear on your heart's desire, at least you can make concrete steps towards attaining it.  Probably won't happen all at once, but hey, the journey is the destination–and nowhere is that more so than writing.

An example of this is my recent foray in indie publishing.  I'm not breaking sales records or hitting the bestseller list, but I'm learning something new, enjoying getting my work out in different ways, and most importantly taking steps toward doing what I love doing the most–writing fiction.

What is your heart's desire as a writer? Are you taking steps to achieve it?

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