Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Too Busy Chasing Success To Have A Life?

Is your writing becoming more like a word mill, churning out stories just to keep up with a publisher's requirements – or your own eagerness for success? Nowadays it's not unusual for writers – particularly those writing romance, series, and cozy mystery series – to turn out four books a year. Or more. Yes, that was FOUR a YEAR or MORE.
Maybe if all your writing is fiction, you could do that. But if fiction and non-fiction, articles and blogs and promo content all meld into that mixture, then burn-out may be lurking on the horizon.
Sure, it's flattering when publishers accept one book, insist on edits, and offer a three-book contract with killer deadlines. Wow! They love me! My readers can't get enough!
But pause for a moment. Think about your life. Think about the lives of those intertwined with yours.
Do you have time to spend with them? To be there for them as they are for you? Time to smell the roses, see the change of season, relax? Hug a child, grandchild, friend, or stranger in need?

And, of course, for many writers there's always the day job. The one you've sworn to give up as soon as writing pays enough to pay the bills. But when is 'enough' actually enough?
In other words, are you so busy rushing pell-mell after what looks like success, only to miss out on your Real Life?

Remember, when you get to the top of one mountain, there's always another waiting to be climbed.
No matter how busy you are, take time to celebrate the successes, big and small. Reached the top of a mountain? Yippee! Happy dance! And include others in your joy.

That joy and zest will spill over into your work, making you a better writer, more engaging to your readers, than yet another book churned out that may actually seem an awful lot like the previous one that was still percolating in your head when you moved on.
And take time in your writing to write the book of your heart. The book you're writing for yourself, without peering over your shoulder at what the competition is doing, at what the publishers are looking for. The book which may never see the light of day – or may prove to be your biggest success yet.
Because, at the end of the day, success in life is a robust thing, a many-sided thing, rather than a one-horse race with no-one there to applaud.
Glenys O'Connell is a former journalist, mental health counsellor, and now a multi-published fiction author. She is also the author of non-fiction including Depression: The Essential Guide and PTSD: The Essential Guide.


  1. I love this. It really hit home. Sometimes I get into the writing groove and miss out on Real Life. We often get stuck in the rush of getting things done, without enjoying what we have done.

  2. That is so true - thanks for adding your comment, Lori!

  3. I could never turn out four books in a year, never ever. but I do have time for my grandchildren and my dogs and my horse. However financially I'm heading for broke. One lives only once. thanks for the blog.

  4. Sounds like you have the balance just right, Christina!