What Makes a Writer a Real Success?


Photo: singhajay at

What is success for a writer? Heck, what is success for anyone, especially anyone working in the arts?

If you’re writing and you measure your success solely by the dollars and cents or the number of books you sell each week/month/year, the chances are pretty good, you’re going to be frustrated.

It’s difficult for readers to discover a new writer’s books. So many writers, so many books. And they’re all demanding, begging, pleading for attention. Readers tune out all the promotional pleas like so many droning mosquitos – and sometimes they swat them entirely with such programs as AdBlock.

So what is success? Finishing that last draft. Working out the plot so all the bits come together in the end. Creating a cast of great, three-dimensional characters. Crafting some wonderful, singing sentences. In short, doing the work.

It’s not that much different from any other artistic endeavor. Money is good, but finding joy and fulfillment in the act of creating the work is better. And if you’re lucky, persistent, and continue to improve your craft, you might find the money follows as well.

Then you can crack open that bottle of bubbly if you want to. (Or, if you’re me, buy a pound of that ultra-expensive coffee I covet.)

champagne by Alvimann at

Photo: Alvimann at

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