Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking for Success

I recently read a blog post by a fellow author about when a writer should quit.
It’s a tough question and, I’ll admit, one I’ve entertained. Yes, there are
times when I’ve wanted to quit, when I’ve wanted to throw in the proverbial pen
and never write another word.

Regardless of popular opinion and common assumption, writing ain’t easy. It’s a road
travelled alone, a road full of potholes and obstacles and plenty of dead ends.
There are few, if any, signs to point you in the right direction and no one
really knows what the destination is.

And if you’re like 90% of writers, even if you do get published, you’ll still be
working a full-time job and struggling to make ends meet.

A writer’s life is full of second-guessing and self-deprecation.

I suppose after all that, after the countless rejections, false starts, bogus
ideas, and shattered expectations, the reason someone quits is because he
hasn’t succeeded. But what is success? How’s that for an existential question?

Success depends on those expectations. If you expect to get published you will most
likely fail. If you get published and expect to be a best-selling author you
will most likely fail. If you become a best-selling author and expect to write
full-time, setting your own schedule and enjoying the good life, you will most
likely fail. And when you fail over and over again, you will most likely quit.

But if you expect to gain some intrinsic joy from writing, to write for writing’s
sake, then success is within your grasp. If you expect to reach just one person through your writing then success is within your grasp. If you expect to glorify God with the best you have to offer then success is within your grasp.

And who cares about the other stuff. You travel the road because the road is there
and you enjoy walking it. And that’s success enough.

Oh, and by the way, my newest thriller, Frantic, just released yesterday. Check it out.


DRC said...

Very true. Even if I don't make it, I'll never stop writing. I'll be writing till my dying day. And even if I did make it, my boss has already warned me that he's not letting me go anywhere, so it looks like I'll be working till my dying day

Jillian Kent said...

Oh Mike,
What perfect timing. I've been struggling with the SUCCESS word lately. Success in the eyes of the world, success via what I'm doing in the eyes of God. The bottom line success, meaning realistic income, not pie in the sky.If you get the chance you'll see what I mean here: "

As DRC mentioned, I hope to be writing for a long time with or without a contract, but hopefully with one. Great post, Mike.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Yes, there have been times when I questioned whether I heard the call of God on my life to write. But since He created me to write, I couldn't stop. I would write whether I'm published or not.