What Defines Writing Success?

From BookDaily.com, posted September 14, 2015:

What Defines Writing Success? #AuthorTips

How do you measure your success as an author? Landing on a bestsellers list? Winning a prestigious award? For many of us, success as defined by these measures doesn’t happen overnight. The path for most authors is paved with hard lessons and rejection.

Maybe you’ve been an author for a while, and you haven’t had the best sales. Perhaps you’ve struggled to gain publicity for your book. Maybe you’re wondering if all your hard work is worth it, if it wouldn’t be more sensible to pursue a different career. If you can relate, here are a few thoughts to lift your spirits and offer a different perspective about how success can be measured.

Think back to when you first started writing. What drove you? If you love writing so much you can’t live without it, even if you have to support yourself with another job, that’s not bad. Pursuing your passion is admirable. That in itself is success. Lots of people say they want to write. Few do. Did you finish your manuscript? That too is a sign of success. Many people dream of writing a book, and may even begin writing, but few persevere to the end.

Does your writing improve with every project? Good for you if it does. That means you’re learning new skills and you’re open to feedback about your work. That’s foundational to your success as an author.

Are you building an audience? If you’re connecting with readers, that’s important. A word of advice: don’t fret that you lost several followers on Twitter today or that nobody liked your Facebook post this week. Be open to evaluating your strategies and changing tactics, but look at your long-term growth rather than focusing on daily numbers. Several months from now, even a year from now, look back at how much your audience has grown. You’re building something important, and that counts toward your success.

Don’t compare yourself to other authors. That’s a sure road to despair. There will always be someone who writes better than you do or who has more followers. Instead, write the best book you can. Network with other authors. Partner with them. Mentor new authors. Teach them what you’ve learned along the way.

If you’re doing all these things, you are a success, no matter which awards you win or how many books you sell.

© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2012

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