Success – Your Own Recipe

Nobody respects writers, yet everybody wants to be one. This disturbing thought occurred to me a while ago and is proving to be a very, very stubborn one. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t banish it.

Add to that the relentless bombardment of articles from respected voices in the publishing industry, articles that commiserate our career choice and tell us that we’d be better off buying a lottery ticket – we’d have a better chance of winning, that is, than making a living as a writer.

Even if you’re stubborn enough to ignore all the above and keep working, keep slaving over that book because you believe in that story, you believe in yourself, even then the road ahead is not easy. Don’t write this genre, that one sells better. Not that long, shorter, and not stand-alone novels, but a series. Don’t rush, but don’t take too long. Formats, covers, promo work – all is skill and it all needs to be learned from scratch. As if researching and writing a serious book is not hard enough… There are no signposts, just a knot of roads, some neat and tidy-looking, some hardly walked, and you only have one lifetime to get this right.

So, tell me, fellow writers. Why do we do this? Pride? Stubbornness? Masochism? To teach a lesson? To have a voice? Prove someone wrong? Or maybe because it’s in the blood?

You might want to share your motivation, or you may not. I don’t much care about your reason, either, I know my own. But there is something else I know. I know there is no right or wrong way, no best and worst, no should or shouldn’t. Any obstacles are, really, merely insubstantial, paltry bumps in this road we’ve chosen. In this new dawn of writing freedom, the rules have been tipped upside-down, the waters muddied and somewhat rough, but we can swim. We can barrel right through them. Because the only way that matters is our way. Our story. Our work. Our sweat and tears. Our reason.

So burn those maps. Burn the heaps of advice. The pieces of card that prove you’ve sat and listened to someone else’s theory for years and years, the seminar attendance notes, the videos and presentations. Stop wasting precious time and money on someone else’s idea of ‘how to’. They are destructive and distracting. They pull at the threads of your concentration and stop you from focusing on your one true goal: SUCCESS.

You have yourself. Rely on yourself. Do things your way. Set your own standards. Before you know it, you’ll get there, you’ll achieve your goal. Don’t look at someone else and don’t compare yourself to others. One size indeed does not fit all. Not now, not ever.

Success? If, in fact, it is your goal, then shouldn’t it be your own recipe?

7 Replies to “Success – Your Own Recipe”

  1. I do it because it is what I love. It is my passion to write. When the day comes that I lose my eyesight or my arthritis gets too bad for me to type out my imagination, it will be time for me to move on to Heaven. There will be no purpose for my old brittle mind. I’m sure I will have Alzheimer’s by that time anyway .I take in every piece of advice people want to share, but I don’t always use it. Everybody is different. Some thing may work for one, where it won’t work for another. So, I will trudge along on my merrily little way, and hope and pray my words reach the ends of the Earth and beyond.

  2. Initially I wrote the Churning Cauldron to get a message across about the condition American politics is currently in. I now write, as I really enjoy it, and while it would be delightful to be a success at it, I will likely keep writing regardless. Approaching 70 I want to keep my mind as sharp as I can as long as I can. My other loves are my dogs and shooting.

  3. Echoing Kristie, it is because it’s what I love to do! I have had many jobs and followed many different career paths, but usually I soon get bored and want to move onto something new and interesting. This hasn’t happened with my writing. Every book, chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and next word is new, how can I ever get bored with that! I just love it. I am driven by my characters and their tales. I like to think of my books as “the histories of my imagination,” so when they are complete, they become part of my fantasy history, like everything in them actually happened. I only want success in order to make a living as a writer, so I can write full time, but for now just getting the feedback from my readers makes me feel successful as a writer. When I tell people I am a writer, the first question they ask is, “How many books have you sold?” Like if its under 100 million then I am obviously not a successful writer. I hate that!!! I’ve only sold 400 books, but that blows my mind! You define your own success. I think writers are great and those who keep at it because they love it, I salute you!! 🙂

  4. Ha-ha, Rebecca, the worst question I got was ‘Oh, so are you well-known now?’ The implication being ‘I haven’t heard of you, so you’re lying!’
    Well, I’ll admit. My name’s not Shakespeare or Hemingway, but that’s fine. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not.
    But a writer – I am!

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