If you are a writer who reads blogs and articles and WRITES, my guess is that you want to achieve something. But, and this is super important, what looks like success to you may not look like succees to me.
This reality came home to me when I went to my first big, multi-day writers conference. I was happy with what I had achieved. Sure, there was more I still wanted to do, but I had reached some pretty impressive goals. I was a magazine writer and a newsletter writer. I had dozens and dozens of sales, but I learned at this conference that for many of my fellow writers, this meant nothing.
I didn’t have a book. Fortunately, I’ve always been remarkably strong willed. I didn’t need to argue with these people because I knew that I was following my path.
So, and this shouldn’t surprise you coming from me, you need to determine the steps in your own writing path. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself.
Why do you write? Maybe you write because you have a story you need to tell. Maybe you are writing the book that you wanted as a young reader. Maybe you want your children to see themselves in the characters of books. Each of us will have a different answer and it is an answer that may change over time.
What do you write?
You might be a picture book writer or a novelist. Maybe poems, essays or nonfiction articles are your passion. Some writers want to become known in one area. Others want to write many different things. What do you want?
What do you want to achieve?
This is different than what do you want to write because it has to do with writing goals. Maybe your goal is “to finish X manuscript.” Maybe you want to write 12 poems or 4 picture books. Maybe you’ve roughed out several manuscripts and want to polish your favorite.
What says “success”?
How will you know that you’ve achieved success? Maybe you need to hold your book in your hand. Maybe, more than anything, you want to have stories under submission. Maybe you want a social media following. Again, only you can answer this question.
What can you do to achieve it?
Once you have some idea what the markers for success are, consider the things that you can do to achieve them. Possible steps including writing regularly, attending conferences, finding a critique group, or putting together a website. You have to know what success looks like to get there but once you know, you can begin to identify your own writing path.