5 Steps to Creating An Author Success Statement
by J. Rose Allister
I participated in Beth Barany's webinar on keys to author success this week, and someone asked what, precisely, the definition of author success was. (By the way, if you haven't seen Beth's writing tips, visit Writer's Fun Zone when you're finished here.) During the discussion that followed, I mentioned the idea of creating an author success statement. I thought it was worth expanding that concept into a blog post.
Ask twenty different writers what makes an author successful and you might get twenty different answers. Ask yourself the same question in different years, and your own answers may vary. The idea of success is a very personal, dynamic, and sometimes changing concept. The truth is, there is no one answer as to what makes an author successful.
What is an Author Success Statement?
Businesses create mission statements to illuminate their goals and purpose. A writer can do the same thing. Here, the goal is to identify and define for yourself what your personal end game is. Making an author success statement can be done in minutes using the five steps outlined below.
Why Do You Need an Author Success Statement?
By setting down a specific list of your goals, you can not only identify key steps to take in achieving "success", but you will be able to derive more satisfaction in watching that success happen. An author success statement is a reminder that you treat your writing seriously, and that the business of writing is a priority.
With your own statement, you will no longer find yourself trying to measure the elusive concept of success by someone else's standard. You will have a clear and relevant path to claiming your own reward.
How Do You Make an Author Success Statement?
Get out a piece of paper (or open a blank document window) and write AUTHOR SUCCESS at the top. Then follow these five steps:
1. Do a 2-minute free write and jot down every word or notion that you associate with author success. You might be writing things like "money", "book contract", "fame", "lots of books" etc. Anything or everything works here, and don't scratch anything out. Just go with your gut instinct.
2. Pick the top 2-3 words or ideas and refine/expand on them.
Look over your free write and pick two or three things that resonate most. List them in order of importance and make them more detailed and specific. For instance, let's say you picked "money". What does that mean to you? One author might be ecstatic to get paid any amount for any of their work. Another might wish for a five-figure income. So write a sentence that sums up what you want. Examples: 1. Earn enough money to pay the monthly bills. 2. Get 50 positive reviews for my book.
3. Combine and edit into your author success statement.
Review your list. Rearrange the order of importance if need be. Change the title to Author Success Statement for (Your Name Here), (Year). Now pretty it up with fonts and colors you like, maybe include an image to complement and emphasize the statement. Leave it in list form, or write it out as a formal mission statement. Make this your desktop background or, even better, print it out and hang it prominently in view of your writing area.
4. Make a plan of action based on your statement.
It's great to have wishes, but it's even better to set goals and make a plan for achieving them. Use your statement to identify clear steps you can take to move forward. Start with a few simple things to get the ball rolling, but this step will be an ongoing process. You will adjust and expand the plan as you go along. Every week, use your statement to ask yourself, "What am I doing this week to achieve success?"
5. Review successes and revise.
At least once per year or as your situation changes, look over your success statement and make note of your progress. Give yourself a pat on the back for the goals you've achieved! Periodically review the statement and ask yourself if it is still relevant. If not, refine and alter it accordingly.
Perhaps most important of all, use this statement to block out that inner voice that tries to tell you that you can't succeed, or that other writers are better than you are because they have been proclaimed a success by others.
Do you have ideals for success? Have you made a plan for how to reach your goals? Post them here.
J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.