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Success in Writing

How do you define success in writing? Some people would say that once you're published you're successful. For others, they might say once is not enough, you need to continue to be published.

But in reality, all those views and opinions are really only the thoughts of others. They might influence you one way or another. They might even encourage and support you to try new things. But actually success is based on your own personal criteria. This message was reinforced by my attendance at my local writing group. When I joined, although I love and am passionate about writing, I would definitely have defined success as publication and maybe even multiple publication - after all in my mind, once could simply have been good luck or a flook - yep sadly that's the way my mind likes to work at times. I often have to tell it to shut up and go away.

However, when I looked around me and got chatting to the other people in the group, I realised that it was different for the various people attending the group. Yes, there are the people interested in and striving for publication and yet there are others who have no interest in this whatsoever. There is the gentleman who likes to write jaunty humorous poetry and read it out at the group but who insists it is simply a pleasurable activity and no more than that and the lady who writes stories for her family to read. She wants to leave something behind as a legacy, something that her family will remember and read when she is gone. There is another lady who knows that she feels better when she writes and could not be without in her life. Ultimately aren't we writing for ourselves first and because we enjoy doing it. We might have days when nothing seems to go right and we wonder why we choose to do this, but overall we continue to do it because we love it. If publication comes as a result of doing something we love - even better.

Are these people any less successful than the ones who push for publication? I guess it depends on your criteria for writing success. Perhaps success is simply a state of mind. I'm glad to be around a variety of people - people with different motivations for writing, people who want to share their love of writing and the pleasure it brings them, people who write for therapeutic reasons and find it helpful and people who are already published and know what that involves and are prepared to share it. All of them add to my own writing journey and hopefully I am able to share my own knowledge and experiences with others too.


  1. If I write something and know I have said what I hoped to say, I feel successful. Some posts will reach the audience I have now available. Others just might need to wait until someone comes along where the words are right for them. I am glad you are able to have a flexible view of success.

    1. Yes, isn't that a wonderful feeling when you're able to express exactly what you wanted to get across.

  2. If you aren't secure in the "why" of writing, outside validation won't help. Success becomes a published book, and then sales figures that book, and then the next book and the next.

    Easy, in that scenario, to feel hunted. And that isn't why we launched into writing in the first place. Thanks for this post, Angela.


    1. Thanks for dropping by Laura, although I have to admit validation can make it feel like you're reaching some people and I do love to connect with others.

  3. This piece encapsulates what took me many years to learn, that many people see their writing in valuable and non commercial ways. Well put.

    1. Thanks Tonia. Yes we all come to things for lots of different reasons. Have a good day.


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