IWSG 87: Capturing Truth


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Rebecca DouglassT. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman | Natalie AguirreKaren Lynn | C. Lee McKenzie


How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Successful Writers…

I don’t think any of us woke up one morning and said, “Writing is easy money. I think I’ll do if for a living.”

However, many of us have woken up bursting with inspiration and crafted something meaningful—possibly beautiful. Something that had to come out. Not to share. Not to become a star. It was simple, sharp, and so personal that tears glimmered, and throats ached.

At that moment, a truth of raw humanity was written down.

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”—Unknown

As a youngster, I captured my truths in poetry. It was dark, dripping with loss and attempting to reach through the barrier between the living and the dead. The spirits that haunted me were beyond my reach. Familiar and comforting wasn’t what followed my readers home and hid under their beds.

I still am an acquired taste.

Successful writers have the ability to reach in and find the truth. Beyond that, they express it in poems, songs, short stories, novels, plays—screen and stage, and through freelancing.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”—Walt Disney

Successful Work…

Making money is about the work. If your work is successful, you’ll find an agent or publisher. Your work breaks into the industry, and you go from writer to promoter.

Then swing back to writer until your next work is ready to be published or preformed.

 “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”—Albert Schweitzer

Whichever road you take, there are degrees of success.

Are you holding a copy of your printed work? Who wouldn’t be thrilled! Congrats.

Are you out promoting your work? Yay! You’ve adjusted to the spotlight and are moving forward with your marketing plan.

Are people lined up to enjoy your work? You’ve found your fans! I can’t think of anything sweeter.

Personal versus Professional…

Success is in the beholder’s eye. Celebrate all your achievements and remember, you’re one in a million.

What does your eye behold?

51 responses to “IWSG 87: Capturing Truth

  1. Hi,
    I love this post. Especially the one with success is about you inspire others to do.
    Have a great month of September.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  2. I love the idea of measuring success by how we inspire others. And yes, success is very personal. Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be successful as a writer and in life.

  3. Well, according to a ton of articles shared to Pinterest writing is the absolute easiest way to make money. I laugh every time one shows up in my feed and I get tempted to go reply in the comments.

  4. I agree – success is multi-faceted and ever-changing. Love the Schweitzer quote!

  5. Success is just as subjective as the writing we craft, right?

  6. Nicely said, Anna! Success means different things to different writers. And, the way success is perceived by outsiders might not be the real picture. All of us are able to hold our works in our hands now, thanks to self-publishing. Yet, it is still a success to finish and publish your work. All the other hoopla might be reserved for famous, traditionally published authors…

  7. Well said. Success is what we believe it to be.

    And I did at one point wake up and decide that I’d make a living as a writer. I believe I was about 10 at the time. Later, I discovered this thing called reality.

  8. I never wanted to inspire anyone by my writing, but I always wanted to entertain, to provide an escape. I think I’m close to that goal. Many readers of my flash fiction for WEP commented on that anyway. They laugh at my stories. I guess success is within my grasp. :))

  9. I completely agree that success is what you make it. I also believe it to be fluid, goals change the longer we’re doing the work.

  10. I definitely have never woken up thinking writing is easy money. I see that said a lot and laugh every time.

    I love that quote by Unknown.

  11. Easy money? Bwahahaha! Even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling would dispute that. But we do each have our aspirations and dreams. And the path to achieve those dreams is as individual as every snowflake.

  12. Many wise thoughts in your post this month. The fact that we all show up here each month counts as success as well, I think. Happy writing in September!

  13. Great post! So many terrific quotes. I love the one by Schweitzer.

  14. Great quote! I agree that holding your first book in your hands is an incredible feeling.

  15. Beautiful take on success. It definitely is in the eye of beholder!

  16. Finding the truth and delivering it to readers is the biggest challenge for any writer, but when they do it and when others discover what that writer has done, what an experience! Loved your post.

  17. Definitely. I doubt any author started out in this career because of the money. Just as you did, I wrote some pretty out-there poetry as a younger woman. It was a great cathartic to do as a teenager for channeling some of that angst!

  18. Wonderful view of success. It’s amorphous, it changes, and it depends on so much. (Shannon @thewarriormuse dot com)

  19. Love these lines! – “Familiar and comforting wasn’t what followed my readers home and hid under their beds. I still am an acquired taste.” 🙂

  20. Let’s finish Walt – A dream and a mouse in his underpants. Personal success is a moving target. Paraphrasing Paul McCartney – I was always worrying about the next “Hey Jude” to pop ’round and then I realized I’d written the first one so I quit worrying so much.

  21. I love how you posted many forms of success because it is different for everyone since it is a broad subject. I find that you including the quotes is a nice touch, I haven’t found a blog that include a quote and I love that touch.

  22. The recognition of the degrees and personal definition of success is an important one for all writers to either grasp or keep in the forefront of our minds. And its fluidity. Do you remember the first time you wrote – The End – on your first sloppy mess of a manuscript? That feeling of profound accomplishment is never tainted despite the grueling hours of revision and the not so pleasant critiques which are essential to our growth. Also love the quotes.

    • For me, finishing a story happened years and years ago. Before the critters, beta readers, or even an online persona.

      It was an act of love and self-expression that slowly grew from poetry. Today I learn a lot more from interacting with other writers though. 🙂

  23. I don’t know that I have a truth in my stories. There’s no emotions I want to convey or messages to deliver. Often times I veer toward the irreverent. I do have my main character who literally can’t lie. But he does find ways to twist the truth to mislead people. As he says, “Just because I can’t lie doesn’t mean I have to be honest.”

  24. I like your POV on what success is for a writer. It is a well-adjusted and balanced mindset. 🙂

  25. “I don’t think any of us woke up one morning and said, ‘Writing is easy money. I think I’ll do if for a living.'”

    Yeah, writing is the worst get rich quick scheme I’ve ever tried! If you judge success by how much money you make, there are way, waaaay easier ways to do that!

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