I had an interesting conversation today with a fellow author about writing and so forth. He said, “If you are a true writer, then writing is like being addicted to crack. You can’t wait to sit down and write what happens next. Each time I publish a short story or write a new book, I get a thrill of excitement. But, success is getting paid.”
Is that true? Does success mean getting paid for your writing? I’m not sure. I’m a published author. I have a contract with a small press and yes, I did receive an advance. But, my advance is in the low three figures (yes, you read it correctly) and I’m told most authors don’t even get that nowadays, so I should be counting my blessings. And I do! I’m so grateful. I even became a published author well within the five-year average of when most first-time writers get a publishing contract. I’m not complaining. I’ve also written a handful of short articles, and I got paid. Not anything to brag about though. If I thought I was successful just because I got paid, then my bar is set low.
I need to raise that bar significantly if I’m going to get where I’ve aimed my sights. Of course I want what every writer dreams of, that six-figure advance plus movie options, right? In order to see my dreams fulfilled I need to keep writing, because one book alone won’t take me there.
To me, success is in the process of writing. My friend, mentioned above, has written six books to date. I find that highly successful. I’m dealing with the emotions of starting another work-in-progress, so for me, writing a second book is a success. And I’d like to get paid for that one too.
Success is building a career book by book, connecting with readers, becoming well-liked and well-known. Not too much to ask for.
What is your secret to success as a writer?