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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Defining Success - IWSG September 2021

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the September’s IWSG: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie.

September question - How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Last week I wrote a personal essay. I’ve sent it out and, if it gets published, I’ll call that success. If I evvvvver get one of my books published, that will be a whopping success. But there’s more to writing then achieving publication. I started this blog, as a means to claw myself out of the unexpected hole into which life had dropped me. At the time, my goal was to improve my writing skills while figuring out how to re-engineer my career. A reread of some of my early blog posts bears witness to my progress. These days I’m a far better writer, and, as it happens, the exercise led me to the position I hold now. So, success, right?

For me success is about degrees—hammering out novel revisions suggested by my writing group even though it feels like an impossible task. Sometimes it’s as simple as forcing myself to send a query letter. A long time ago, I stopped working on my first-ever novel because the draft was so awful, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Over the past year, I’ve gone back to that attempt and turned it into a cohesive story. To me, that’s a huge win. All of this gives me confidence. I am successful.

That said, sometimes success is as simple as getting an IWSG post written on a day I’m struggling, which I confess is what’s happening today.

 How do you define success as a writer?

 

22 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry you are struggling. But you did it - post achieved!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
I understand what you mean about success and in many ways, I agree.
All the best.
Shalom aleichem

Joanne said...

You are very practical in this post and writing is a very humbling experience. But you get positive comments on your blog posts, that's a plus. You keep working and sending and that's a plus. It's the little things...and then you'll hit that big one. I have no doubt. Meanwhile, carry on and we'll support you - you are a very good writer.

Laur said...

Thank you for reminding me there are successes at each step along the way. Take one step at a time and find reasons to celebrate at each.

Nick Wilford said...

Great point. There's so many ways to measure success and it's important to celebrate those smaller ones because they add up to a bigger journey. BTW, congrats on hammering that early draft into a coherent story. I think many of us wouldn't have the guts to attempt that!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad you can see progress from when you started your blog. Congrats on submitting your essay. Fingers crossed for you.

I hope you're doing well. I think of you often and hope you are. I'm always here if you need to talk.

Bish Denham said...

Yes, sometimes it's very small things that define success. Getting the monthly IWSG posts done can be hard for me, too. You are not alone, even if the cause of our struggles are different.

cleemckenzie said...

That first book is always something a writer will never forget. It is very special. Here's to that success for you soon.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I hope your days get better and brighter soon. I think success is getting words on paper. I would love it to mean more - financial gain, etc, but really success is enjoying the opportunity to write.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So sorry to hear you're struggling, Lisa. Looking at our old work and seeing our missteps is a great way to judge our progress. I can't bare to read the first few books I've had published.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes to all that! When I think of how long I've been reading your blog and your very wonderful motives for starting it I'd call you a roaring success. I also like measuring it incrementally - it is both humble and true.

Leigh Caron said...

Yes...if you blogged today even though you are struggling...that IS success. Hope you'll be feeling better soon.

nashvillecats2 said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and would like to thank you for the kind words you left on mine.
That first book published is a wonderful feeling and I'm sure you will soon get that feeling. Good luck.

Yvonne.

Diane Burton said...

I'm sorry you're struggling. When you wrote that you stopped writing because you couldn't figure out how to fix an awful draft, I knew exactly what you meant. That's what's stopped me from finishing one of my stories. I still haven't gone back to it. Someday I will. Hang in there.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Yep, I totally agree with your definition of success. It's the big stuff and the smaller stuff. It's the steps along the way.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

If we create sentences that become stories, we need to be grateful, consider it a success. Not everyone can do such magic. :)

Teresa

THE ONLY TRUE HACKER IN THE WORLD ® said...
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - I'd say getting the job through creative writing is a definite plus point ... life is just a struggle at times - but it's knowing that change will happen and it's keeping positive, or immune from major negativity, til things improve. So pleased your writing is keeping you happy ... and yes positive comments on the blog are a plus - cheers and all the best - Hilary

Yvonne Osborne said...

Success is when I find the time to post to my blog! Success anymore is submission to a journal even if it's rejected. And I feel a sense of success every time I open my document of a work-in-progress and progress!!!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Sometimes, Liza, writing can seem like an impossible task for many. At least it does for me. Never give up, my dear. You can do this.

Good luck with your essay. Where did you send it? What was the topic?

Have a beautiful weekend!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Liza! Yes, getting an IWSG post written when you are struggling is definitely writing success! You give me hope that perhaps I'll fix my second ever novel. My first one was written in the fall of fifth grade and those pages have long vanished ~ LOL! Wishing you luck with your personal essay and your other writing endeavors! Take care!

Janet Alcorn said...

I'm sorry you're struggling. And you're right--success is about degrees. Each day we move forward is a small success. Hang in there.