How Do You Define Success as a Writer?

Insecure Writers Want to Know

Hello and welcome to my new website! One place on the web to see what Victoria Marie Lees is up to. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a note.

Let’s get to my answer to the Insecure Writers Support Group question:

In my mind, the successful writer is able to pay the bills with her writing career. Notice, I said career. I’m sure she’d need to do more than just sell books. She’d need to market her knowledge in articles, presentations, or classes.

I don’t know about you, but if I had to wait until I could pay my bills with a writing career to be considered successful, to be happy, I’d be waiting forever.  

So I adjust my definition of a successful writer.

For me, it’s the thrill of seeing your name in print. To hold your published creation in your hands, be it a short story in a magazine like Cricket or in an anthology or as a full-length book. In this limited understanding of success, I am content. I want more, though. Lots more!

Like poets or painters, actors or filmmakers, authors hope to be understood, to be appreciated. In our case, authors want to be read and enjoyed. To be a successful writer, we need readers. We need people to know about us.

But how do we do this? In today’s world, we need an online presence. Hence, my new website! Please feel free to disagree and offer your insight on this.

For an author to have a successful career, he needs to be known. Known for a specific genre, for a specific knowledge base, or for a specific type of writing; like, poetry, memoir, essays, or articles.

Okay, so how do authors become known if they are like me, a nobody?

Authors should join writing groups and/or professional groups, both online as well as in person. [If Covid ever ends, that is!] And within these groups, writers need to share their knowledge. I’d be lost without all of you, dear IWSG friends!

Writers need to share personal podcasts or facilitate writing workshops if they can, to get their name out there. We need blogs so editors can search online for us and find a presence, see us sharing our knowledge and experiences with our followers.

Am I successful in this regard? Nope! Will I stop just because only my tiny corner of the planet knows about me? Nope! I’ll keep trying to become known, keep trying to submit stories for publication, keep trying to share my knowledge with others. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be “forever” before I sell more stories or possibly a collection of stories. Here’s hoping!

It will be interesting to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s wonderful having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing journey.

Thanks for visiting my new website! And be sure to stop by again.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for August: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie! Please visit them if you can.

Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

22 thoughts on “How Do You Define Success as a Writer?”

  1. I’m utterly horrible at self-promotion, so… uhm… I think I’ll go back to the success where I own a stable full of racing elephants. It just seems more likely than me getting myself out there.

    • Getting ourselves out there is so difficult, Karen. I have much trouble with it, too.

      I think I was born too late. I want the fairytale publishing deal where all I have to do is write something that others would enjoy reading. Not an easy task, of course. My publisher would send me around the globe to speak about my book. And many people would attend and tell me how great the book is.

      Ahem…you were saying…you have a stable full of racing elephants? Can I see them? Thanks for your note!

    • I’m with you, Karen! My blog site looks like a first grader made it. On second thought, my first grade granddaughter could have done better. I just want to write, not worry about an online presence.

      • Hi Julia! Welcome to Adventures in Writing!

        I’m with you. If only we could just write and not worry about our online presence. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Unless we want to hire someone or a bunch of someones to do everything for us.

        Thanks so much for visiting. Please stop by again!

    • Absolutely, Natalie. We authors are like other artists. Not many poets or painters or actors make it big. But it doesn’t mean we quit trying. Thanks so much for your comment. And thanks for cohosting this month.

  2. I answered very similarly. To have our work enjoyed and appreciated by others – to be able to take them away somewhere else – while reading – is a true measure of success. Paying the bills would be a bonus! Great to point out how the writing community can make us all more successful too – we’d be much worse off without it.

    • You are so right, Nick! We’d be lost without our writing community. I know I like to get “lost” in a story I’m reading. To me, that’s a great story. That’s a successful writer.

      Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. All best to you, sir!

    • It’s all about forward motion, Alex, no matter what we choose to do to promote ourselves and our writing.

      Bravo to you, sir, for all you do to help writers and your readers know where you are and what’s going on in your writing life. All best to you, sir!

  3. Absolutely, Lee! And the thrill never goes away. I’ve published six stories in Cricket and a few essays in anthologies. And some poetry. I smile every time I think of this, yet I want more. Here’s hoping!

    All best to you! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for co-hosting this month!

  4. I think you said it all when you said an author is successful when someone likes what they have written. Success is a never ending ladder. We just have to keep climbing!

  5. Happy IWSG Day, Victoria! I like the new look of your website. And congratulations for having your story published in Cricket! I don’t think writing will ever pay my bills, but I’d surely be excited if it did. Take care!

  6. Lovely new website! Kudos.

    I’ve always followed the Virginia Woolf model of “to write fiction, a woman should have 500£ and a room of her own.” So I secured those things in advance. Success for me is the freedom to sit down and write without the worry of paying bills. I’ve enjoyed the success of having a few publications, but I’m always on to the next thing.

  7. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Janet. I’m so glad you’re here!

    Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. Yes! It is truly difficult to become known as a writer. But it doesn’t mean we need to stop doing it. All the best to you!


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