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What is Writer Success?

At the February Writers Happy Hour the question was posed, “What would make you successful as a writer?” I gave my standard knee-jerk response of “being published by a traditional publisher, willing to invest money in my novel.”

Upon reflection, I find this answer to be wholly inadequate. My idea of success as a writer is not about writing to please the publishers. To fit my work into their narrow vision of commercial success (i.e. sells enough copies to make a tidy profit). I'm not that shallow. Although the extra income would be most welcome. With some luck and a lot more ambition, I might have come across a formula that worked, and thereby been monetarily successful at a much younger age, churning out the same story over and over with slight changes in characters and locations, as some popular writers do. But that's not me, never has been.

In truth, my original answer was motivated by my age. I have reached my mid-sixties and now worry about having enough money to pay my ever increasing bills. And my health not being the best, I worry that someday I may need care that I can't afford at home. Only to have all I own and monies I have saved over a lifetime, taken away to pay for a nursing home. It is these thoughts that push me to dream of commercial success.

In fact, I stand by my declaration from my younger days. If one person is touched by my poetry, if one person enjoys a story I have written, if one person is moved by my reading of my works, if I have lightened one persons load, even for just a moment, though I haven't earn a penny, I am a success as a writer though only a few may know.

I want to thank all of you for the suggestions, words of encouragement, and opportunities that have made my writing better and contribute to my successes. That I may, one day, reach more readers and touch more souls.

Keep writing.

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Lenore Troia
Lenore Troia
02 mars 2023

Great piece Ken. Glad you posted this. The idea of success is personal and universal at the same time. It is enlightening to share our individual ideas about it. Thanks!

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