Redefining Writing Success
I write a book every year, so why is it that I only have one traditionally published book to my credit, and that was way back in 2017? If I dwell too long on the amount of time that elapsed between novels, I feel a growing sense of panic. I am confident there are many authors out there who have felt the same way.
The pressure to get a second book finished and published is real even if it is self-imposed. My publisher is not on me to write a second book—in fact, there is no guarantee it would publish another book of mine even if I did have a manuscript ready to pitch. Nevertheless, I have set a personal goal to write other novels and I am woefully behind my own schedule.
It would be easy to come up with a host of excuses for why book two is yet to materialize: a surprise pregnancy, raising four busy and active kids, and my job in public relations. The truth is all of that contributes to a lack of time and energy for me to finish, but the job is what I often resented. That is, until I had an epiphany of sorts.
It dawned on me that I do write a book every year—a creative community impact report for the Fortune 500 company for which I work. I have been writing these reports for more than 10 years now, leading a team of creative people and doing the yeoman’s work of writing and/or editing every word that gets included in the final publication. These reports have been recognized in the financial industry for the past eight years with Platinum and Gold MarCom awards and stakeholders of our company value the information they provide. I can and should take heart in that.
I firmly believe that any writing we do helps to advance our publication goals. These reports are not creative works of fiction, but they give me an opportunity to flex my writing muscles and continue to hone my craft. They present a challenge--taking what some may consider dry material and turning it into a compelling narrative. I work on a challenging deadline that ranges from six to nine months, developing and writing to a theme, and ensuring inclusion of all the required points. In essence, I title, plot, and write, and then I edit, proof-read, and finally let it go to the printers before turning to marketing and public relations of said report.
If I approach it from that perspective, I am assured that I am furthering my writing career even if the fruits are unknown to most people. I urge other struggling writers to find those ways in their lives that they, too, are moving forward in unconventional ways. Whether it’s the personal journaling I’ve been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, or the reflections I write to record the history of my family as it happens, or the birthday newsletters I draft for each of my four kids—it’s all part of my writing journey. Perhaps instead of focusing of what I have yet to accomplish, I should consider what I have done—and do every day, every year.
With this knowledge, I am banking on the fact that when I do finish my two works in progress that they will be better for the unique, winding journey I took to get to them.