Cyril Connolly expressed perfectly what success as a writer Is:
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
My novel, The Lamia, recently spent a few days at #1 on a few Amazon category lists. That’s exciting, and many asked me how it felt. Well, it felt good to know readers were engaged. It felt good to read the five star reviews (although my favorite was a four star that said she wanted to rate it five, but it was just too damn scary). It’s good to know years of effort has seem some sort of acknowledgment.
But that’s not the real joy. The real joy is that I wrote my book for the most important patron – me. The Lamia is my masterpiece, and would be if it had no public. The book is a fulfillment of 30+ years of writing practice – honing my craft, learning to be the best I can be at a profession I have little natural ability. I chose professional writing as a second career because it’s so damn hard for me, and I wanted the challenge of creating novels, short stories, and stage plays that were worthy of the marketplace.
The Night Hag, the worthy sequel to The Lamia, comes out April 20th, and this will make three published novels, four published short stories, and a dozen produced stage plays over my ten year run as a professional writer. I’m optimistic The Night Hag will be well-received. But that’s not the true measure of success.
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” I have written by this mantra, and I’m satisfied I have succeeded. I wrote the stories I wanted to write, I wrote them my way, and I did my best.
Write the stories you want to write. Write them your way. Do your best. And revel in your success.