Last week, in response to my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, many commenters spoke of how a writer’s focus often changes once he or she is agented, signs a book deal, and/or gets published. It only makes sense that this would happen. Just as our dreams and careers are not static, neither should our blogs remain fixed.
The purpose to my blog was to chronicle my journey toward publication. In the beginning, though I had a book, I had no idea if it was saleable or if I could even consider myself an actual writer. I met others along the way who were exactly where I was on the journey and many others who were farther along—agented and hoping beyond all hope for a publishing contract. And still others who had their contract or were even already published.
I enjoy reading each writer’s contribution, studying their progress, and partaking of their generous advice and experience. I’ve never felt any jealousy but rather a sense of encouragement that it is all, in fact, possible somehow, if I just work hard enough. But even having said that, there has to be some measurement of success along the way, some way that we, in our own right, encourage ourselves to continue, to not give up.
For each of us, I imagine, it’s quite different. I know when I started blogging, I was excited if one person read and commented on my posts. Then it became all about the number of followers I had and how many I was adding each month. After my numbers increased, I measured my success by the number of comments I had for each post. I still do both of these to some extent, but I’ve become less obsessed with the overall numbers.
In the past few months, it’s been more about my book and who’s added it to their Goodreads TBR pile, but that seems rather shortsighted of me. Now, all I can think about—the one true way in which I can gauge my own success—is by my writing. That means I have to write another book.
Over the last two-plus years, I’ve often wondered if this whole experience is not just some kind of fluke. I’ve asked myself if I could ever duplicate it, if I could ever do it again. So that’s how I’ll be calculating my success now. Can I do it again? Can I plot and write another novel worth publishing?
I have my doubts. Serious ones, too. I’m working on another story, a sequel to The Mistaken. In fact, I was flying along in the outline phase until my edits came in from my publisher for the first book. Then I came to a screeching halt. Afterwards, one of my dogs died and the other got very sick. I know once my son goes off to college out-of-state in a little less than two weeks, I’ll have all the time in the world to focus on my new WIP and move it along again. Still, there’s that part of me that thinks I’ll never be able to do it again. But I’ve always been of the mind that if I did it once, I can do it again. God, I sure hope so.
So what about you—how do you measure your own success?