The Writing Life: Imagining Success

Hi there folks! I did finally finish my vocalization of The Killer and The Dead today, and many improvements have been made, and a mere thirty two notes to self generated. You know, changes, continuity checks, questions for proofers and beta readers, that kind of thing.

I’m still a few steps away from hitting the publish button, but I do wonder now what success means to me in writing. It keeps evolving. In my youth I craved fortune and fame, now, I clearly see the pitfalls of fame, and fortune, well it would be nice to make more money from writing, but my targets are not as vast as once they were!

Writing for public consumption is an ego flaying thing, even before anyone reads a word, because you have to be ready for the worst responses, even as you crave the best. You also have to be prepared for vast, indifferent, silence. That’s a tough one, and the only way to deal with it, in my experience, is to keep working, take steps forward in your craft. The simple path to sanity is not to read any reviews, once you start getting them. It is hard though. It’s a funny thing – writers are advised to have a social media presence, to reach out to readers, to be available and enthusiastic, and yet not respond to reviews, a primary piece of evidence of reader engagement. I know why, (it’s a sanity shredding road to hell) but it does strike me as an interesting conundrum, and makes me wonder about all the other forms of author-reader engagement. The primary interface, for me, should be the book. The thing I wrote, that I hope you’ll enjoy reading.

So now my imagining of success is a smaller, simpler thing than once it was. It is having books I’m proud of, that are as good as I can make them in a reasonable span of time. Writing as many of them as I can in the years left to me, as long as I believe in the story, and the quality of their telling. I want to better myself each time out, improve the reading experience with each publication. I was in a mad rush to crank out books every year, to build a brand, to become a thing. I’m not so sure about that anymore. I think it is more important for me, right now, to build a sure foundation for myself as a writer, have ideas and stories I believe in. The Killer and The Dead is something I am very proud of, and look forward to sharing, when it is ready. Which will be soon, just like its cover, hahahaha!

Keep writing everyone, and pursue your ideas of success, whatever shape they may take!

 

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