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#IWSG – How Do You Define Success

#IWSG How Do you Measure Success?

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to another look into my life as a writer and the fun of #IWSG monthly prompts! This month we’re looking into what defines success as a writer.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!


For those who don’t know, I’ve been writing for probably close to 30 years, publishing for nearly 15, and I have run the gamut of defining success. From setting a goal to write 50K words in a month. (I’ve “won” Nano about 9 times.) to writing The End to cap off a new story (over 17 times.) to holding my book in my hands, to being a guest speaker at conventions, to running a publishing house and helping others see their dream happen, and I’m getting pretty darned close to filling up a whole bookshelf row (my ultimate goal is to be able to write enough good content to fill up a whole bookshelf, but still working on that.)

But the best experience I have had of “success” is one that I cannot plan for or control and in some ways, that makes it so much sweeter.

That is the moment when a fan shares their passion for your work, completely unsolicited, often unexpectedly. This happens as social media posts, book reviews, at book signings, and sometimes randomly on the street.

The best example I can share is when I was at the second annual SLC Comic-Con and this young man came up to the booth asking for the 2nd book in The Hunters Saga. I let him know that it wasn’t out yet but that it would be out later that year and gave him a bookmark so he could find me online to purchase it when it came out.  He didn’t even realize I was the author but he asked if I’d read the book and went on to tell me how it had completely changed his life. He felt so alone in the world until I’d written a character whom he could completely relate to with Chris.

That was when I realized that representation matters so much. Sharing stories of people with different motivations, different drives, different hopes and dreams, different experiences, all of that is so important. Because we don’t get that so much in the mainstream media. I started my career off focused on writing strong women, women like me and my friends who didn’t fit the “traditional model”.

This is why I keep writing and exploring new and different characters and stories.

People are different. We need to accept and embrace those differences and see how those differences can create a brighter more vibrant world.

Giving that feeling of not being alone, of being seen and known and VALUED.

To be able to do that with “silly fun fiction stories that people don’t really NEED” (that quote is from a nonfan who didn’t understand why I was wasting my time writing when I could be doing really valuable work.

So glad I did not listen to that person’s opinion.

Until next time,

Keep reading, writing, and growing! 

17 thoughts on “#IWSG – How Do You Define Success

  1. I definitely see you as a success as a writer. Just keep writing.

    Nice to meet you!

    1. Aw, thank you! Nice to meet you too!

  2. People will say some crazy (and rude) things. But the unsolicited positive feedback is definitely a great feeling. 😁

    1. Absolutely. It takes a strong author to be able to ignore all the negative/ strange things that get posted in reviews. Many authors don’t read reviews because of that. But as an indie author, that is my best place to get critiques. It is also where you find a lot of these beautiful gems that keep me writing!

  3. Isn’t it amazing how so solitary a pursuit as writing can connect us to so many people! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

    1. Honestly, I am not sure. I have found the last several times that I was just too overwhelmed with life to knock out 50K in Nov.

      But I have found that committing to at least 500 words a day 5 days a week year-round a more effective writing tool for me. But I do love cheering my fellow writers on with NaNo!

  4. Wow! A reader who told you that one of your characters was so relatable that his life has been transformed! Best ever award!

    1. IKR? It was truly one of the most unexpected but pleasurable successes I’ve had. Every time I hear from a reader how XYZ character inspired them or made them feel seen and less alone, helped them understand someone they know better, or with my nonfiction helped them grow their dreams- that is worth way more than the money I make from my work.

  5. Great story about relating to one of your characters, Heidi. That’s definitely a measure of success. If someone one day told me how much they love my characters, I’d feel like I’d done something really important in life.

  6. How wonderful to have someone tell you that your book changed his live! That would be amazing success to me! May you fill that bookcase!

    1. Thank you! I believe you will have such a moment one day. Keep writing and sharing your beautiful life.

  7. That is an amazing feeling! I still have my first “fan” email sent to me years ago after I published my second book. At the time my only goal was to entertain people with my stories, I never imagined they’d have any sort of impact beyond that.

    I hope you have many more successes like that.

    1. Entertaining people is super important too, as we’ve clearly seen during Covid. We all need a chance to escape from the struggles of this world. But I agree, knowing you touched them deeply is a whole other unexpected delight.

  8. Thanks for this post! The reminder that someone somewhere might be waiting for just the kind of representation and connection that one of my characters could potentially give inspired me to keep working on my WIP today.

    1. I am so glad to hear that. The world NEEDS your story, even if only for one person to know that they are not alone.

  9. I love how you got such wonderful, powerful feedback. I agree–there’s nothing else like the feeling that you’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life.

    1. It truly was an unexpected measure of success.

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