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  • Andrea Torrey Balsara

#IWSG - Defining Success as a Writer

I am a new member of the Insecure Writers Support Group. Finally (finally!!) I am at a place where I can commit to writing a blog every month and I’m happy to be part of a group that acknowledges how hard writing can be.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

The IWSG September question: “How do you define success as a writer?”

My answer: Hmmmm. It has changed over the years, and is still changing, but as of this moment I would say that my definition of success is doing what I love, on my own terms, while still being open to change and improvement. It’s a list that has no mention of money or how well my writing is received. That’s because all those things are outside of my control, and for me there is no quicker way to circle the drain than to focus my “success” on something outside of myself.

In Fall of 2017, my beloved Young Adult book that I had cried over, bled over, lost sleep over, was published. I had envisioned the heavens parting and trumpets blaring and the slow-mo run across the meadow. I was completely unprepared for what actually happened: the sound of crickets.

2018 was what I have dubbed “The Great Scouring.” I had to examine WHY I was writing, and WHAT I expected to get from it. I also had to figure out if I was going to keep doing it, because, quite honestly, my heart was broken. I am now grateful for that year, and for those blasted crickets, because they helped me to realize just how much power I had given over. In that year-long scouring, I spring-cleaned and tossed out toxic beliefs and began to learn how to act with joy and self-determination.

I am still working on making a living as an author and would love for that to happen, but it’s not the WHY of why I’m writing. I’m writing because I love it. And from love, blessings and joy flow, rippling outwards, changing the world.

My YA book went on to win awards and in 2020 won an audiobook award from Page Turner Book Awards but by then my broken heart had mended.

I’m doing what I love, with love, because I love it.

That’s success.

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