Saturday, November 12, 2016

Success Is A Moving Target

Whatever success I have attained as a writer is due to the fact that I write. Daily. I sit in the chair at my great grandmother's desk and I ignore the cats and the social media and everything else (certainly I ignore the dust bunnies) and I WRITE.

I don't have daily goals of any type. I write until the passion of that particular writing session has passed, whether it's half an hour or four hours. If it's a day I really don't feel like writing, I try to at least open the current WIP and get a few hundred words on the page. Usually I end up writing many more than that, once I begin.

This leads to a subpart of the secret to my success - I don't edit and criticize and doubt myself as the first draft moves from my head to the page in whatever mystical fashion this process occurs. I KNOW the first draft will be clunky and have problems and feature inelegant sentences and need tons of revisions. That's the process, folks. But the words have got to get out of my head and onto a page (which nowadays is actually a WORD file) before I can start making them pretty. I've known people who are just paralyzed because they feel like every word has to be a jewel, set into platinum and gold, the first time it's written down. Um no. Not for me at least. That would be great if course, but it's not how books get written in my house.

Additionally, any success I accrue is due to the fact that someone other than me enjoys my book in its final, fully edited and copy edited state, and is willing to spend hard earned money to buy it. I love my readers and am continually amazed and enthralled and excited to have people who want to read my books. And talk about them! And review them!

I qualified the headline that success is a moving target because not too long ago I found a  piece of paper in the filing cabinet where I'd jotted down my goals a couple of years before I actually got published. At that time I pretty much defined success as being published. Period. Thank you, Carina Press, for picking up Priestess of the Nile. Success!

Only to be rapidly overtaken by a new definition of writerly success - get the next book written and sold. Then I wanted to be self published....

I won't take you book by book but somewhere along the way I switched goals to defining success as the moment I could leave the day job and write fulltime because the books would be doing so well. Yup, have now checked that box as of nearly two years ago....

But I want MOAR. I want to write a book that sells huge numbers of copies, breaks out and becomes a blockbuster movie! Yeah, being a scifi romance author, which is currently a small niche, that may prove to be a problem LOL. But you never know and that points me back to where I began this post - the secret is to write. I may never see my name in very tiny print on a movie credit scroll BUT for sure I won't if I don't write diligently and keep producing good new books.

Every book completed and released into the wild is another opportunity for good things to happen,  to give my readers a few hours of enjoyment, to find new readers, to maybe find LOTS of new readers and even someday have that movie deal.

Of course then I'll probably want the theme park ride to go along with the movie....and the action figures and....oh, I can stop now?

The Author with a stationary target in high school where her definition of writerly success would have been getting a story published in Analog magazine. (She didn't BTW.)


  1. I think that's very common, for writers to set the goal as "getting published." How shocking that, like getting married, that's not the HEA, but the first step!

    1. SO true! Yet it was eye opening to me at the time that 'just' having that first book published was only the beginning LOL.