How to be a Successful Writer

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.Writer Wordart

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?

See How to Make a Living as a Writer


16 responses to “How to be a Successful Writer

  1. Pingback: A Successful Self Published Author From Ben | Publishing Reviews

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  6. I was proud of myself when I completed my first novel, but publishing the second felt more like real success, even though I self-published and I haven’t sold many copies. It was still an achievement I’d been aiming at for years.
    Now, real success, yes, that’s about dollars or pounds – I don’t care which. I want to make money from the sales of my book. Surely that is the proof that you’ve written something worthwhile?

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  11. I love the description of being on crack if you are a true writer. I can’t go a day without writing. I have described it as being obsessed. I think that if the passion is there, that is a sign of success. Many people go a lifetime without finding that thing that they live for.

  12. Success is always the next step. If you could see it and get it in a relatively short space of time, with nothing beyond it to aim for, then nothing would last very long because it would have been achieved and ticked off. It also helps to see success in a series of little steps, as then the sheer scale of everything that is out there doesn’t seem quite so daunting.

  13. Pingback: I Met Someone Else Today That Might (one day) Write a Novel. | robsparkeswriting

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