Writer’s ego: success


I’m really not falling off of the blog-wagon, just too busy to mash together any ideas longer than 140 characters. Anyhow, I did have a thought the other day that I want to share, although it’s a rather incomplete thought. What came across my mind is the product of a challenging month, both positive and negative. It’s about success. Success comes in two parts:

1: convincing yourself and others you can do something,
2: proving it.

Before I go much further, I want to point out that I don’t consider myself a particularly successful person. No doubt I’ll be called out on this one, because I’ve done alright, but I’m really not where I want to be, and I fail badly at #1.

It’s one thing to sit in an interview and wax poetic about your skills and abilities, and perhaps even be convincing enough to satisfy the hiring manager(s) that you are, in fact, all that and more. This is well and good, but it’s only part of the story. Once you walk into that new job or contract, the clock starts ticking to prove yourself. I’ve hired a lot of people. Some try too hard to prove themselves and miss the mark, after all they were hired for a particular task. I’ve hired others who come in, identify the needs and push to excel in meeting those, and I have absolutely hired people that have come in and upon being hired feel there isn’t any need to prove themselves, or only give it a token effort.

I think it’s the same with writing, well any craft really. An amazing sales pitch might sell lots of books, but what’s that worth if the story stinks? Conversely, I could write an amazing story with fabulous commercial potential, but if I can’t make the sales pitch, nobody will ever know. Both of these things need to happen. As much as I’d like to be a professional, full-time writer, I recognize I’m chasing a dream. I’m fine with that, but I would like people to read and enjoy my story.

I could sit here and blog all day long about how well I write, maybe convince a few folks that I can tell one hell of a story. However, without a damn good story to stand behind, what does it even mean? What does it mean if I’ve written an excellent story and haven’t been able to convince anyone they should take a look at it?

I have no idea.

I don’t really know where I was going with that. Perhaps I just want to make the point that this is something I struggle* with.


* Beat myself up.


7 thoughts on “Writer’s ego: success

  1. A great correlation between job and writing success. I agree and would add that trying to prove your writing chops is even more difficult because there’s an element of sensitivity to add. Writing is a creative process. I’ve yet to meet a thick skinned author!
    I can sympathize with you and this post. A few years ago I was working on story number 1. When completed I worried over who would ever read it and, if I finally found someone, would they love it as much as me!
    I’ve been putting this story up on Wattpad for 6 months or so now and am excited to see that not only is it being read and enjoyed but I can see the demographics of who is reading!
    Keep writing. Keep dreaming and setting goals. I believe in you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that! I’m only vaguely aware of Wattpad, and had to google search to learn more, but that seems like an interesting way to feel your way through the industry and connect to readers. If you can gain a following through a site like that I can see that really paying benefits.


      • The demography feature is fascinating. I always assumed my YA fantasy story would appeal to young readers- not so! The majority are women over the age of 30. My historical romance story is read by 13-18 year olds! Go figure! But how valuable is that information for marketing, right? It also gives me confidence that my stories have appeal. Another boost and who doesn’t need that?!


  2. efrussel says:

    Oh, Dave. I can’t speak for your level of success, but I can tell from your blogs you’re a good writer. But you said not to call you out, so. πŸ˜›

    I agree with you…promotion and being able to talk yourself up are just as important as producing good work. To get readers, you’ve got to make them *want* to read your story…this is the part, personally, I’ve always had some trouble with. I’ve just never been much good at talking myself up. When I was younger, I never much saw the point, I always figured your credentials (your story, your references, what have you) would just go the magic mile for you if they were good enough. That’s one of those things that, while it might be true in an interview, doesn’t always hold true if you’re a self-published writer treading water in a sea of millions of self-published writers.

    Frankly, I’m not a successful person either–I don’t think I’d know what to do with success if I achieved it. It would weird me out something fierce. πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think success for you is on the horizon. Once you achieve it, it’s possible, if not likely, that you won’t take it for what it is. At least, I don’t. Writing aside, I’ve done alright, I can pay my bills, change a tire, and know how to do my taxes. Very many people would call that success, but I don’t see it – I can always do better. In any case, self-promotion, that’s a tough one. Especially with writing. I do think you’re correct in that your credentials do make a difference in certain circumstances, but writing? Man, I don’t know, feels like hard work and luck.


  3. The comparison to hiring for a job is interesting. But I’m sure you could do another great blog about examining your definition of success. If success means finishing a draft — you’re successful! But if success only means getting six-figure contracts, you might be setting yourself up to fail because few writers get six-figure contracts. You know?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I can see that. You’ve made me start really thinking about this in a way I haven’t been. Actually, after I read this comment, I had to stop and have a think about it. I’m pretty sure it’ll be on my mind all day long now. I might just do another one of these, maybe it’ll help me think through. Thanks!


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