Success is a relative term that we all have to define for ourselves. When I started my publishing journey I had to learn about a lot of new things that I hadn’t considered before. Ironically, the easiest part of this whole process is the writing! Yes, that’s the part I find myself retreating to when the rest of this experience becomes too much.
Has my writing style and process changed since I released my first novel? Yes. You have to let it be organic. Every new experience adjusts our perspective, so our writing will always adjust to compensate.
But what I didn’t do was make a concrete assertion of what “success” would look like. I suppose we all have a vague idea of what it would look like to achieve our dreams. But when you start on the path to try and realise your ambition the whole thing takes on a new configuration.
I’m not actually here to talk about writing, but as I previously stated, writing is my go to place when I’m struggling elsewhere. So why am I here? I’m not really sure, to be honest. I sat staring at the empty post for a while… and that’s not like me. I’m one of these strange people who love the white, blank page. It doesn’t intimidate me, it excites me, because it lies there ready to absorb the adventure, to record the comedy and drama woven in the words.
But I sat and I stared… I could write about writing. I could write about publishing. I could write about process. I could talk about opinion. Today, I’m vexed by a challenge that I can’t overcome. I can’t think my way out of it. I can’t write my way out of it. With those two avenues exhausted I sit and I stare.
I can write full-length romantic fiction. I can publish novels in various digital formats and in paperback. I can create and maintain websites. I can blog. I can interact on social media. Other than the first, these are all things that I’ve had to learn since I started this publishing journey. What can’t I do? Find a way to encourage readers to engage with me as a writer.
I don’t know if it’s me. I don’t know if it’s my novels. But no matter how much I talk to and question people, and generally try to encourage dialogue, readers are reluctant. Why is that?
So I do what any sane person would do, I consult the plan for achieving my goal… hmm… What does success look like? Goals in writing can be severely narrowed… “I must edit this many chapters this week…” “I must reach this word count.” “I must write the blurb, description, design a cover…” “Come up with a character name…” the list is endless. But because it can be divided into so many segments it’s easy to focus on each task and ignore the big picture.
At first it’s just a wonder to see your book on Amazon! Then it’s amazing to see the red line on your sales dashboard graph move at all. All of these little feats become cause for celebration. Mastering the tasks in themselves can feel like climbing mountains and reaching summits. What do you do when you’re over the mound of learning, and comfortable enough in the process, then realise that you’re lacking?
You try to find a task to complete… but there isn’t one. You can’t achieve a task toward a goal when you don’t know what success looks like. I do wonder how other indies measure their success, is it in sales? Maybe its in monetary terms? Or maybe it’s the number of dedicated fans that they have?
Success is relative, but I still don’t know where it stands in relation to me… could it be hiding around the next corner? But if you’re standing on the road alone, when is it time to accept that you’ve taken a wrong turn?
Good luck on your adventures,