There are so many of us writers who dream of using our writing to fund our lives. Few have reached the point where a single writing source delivers the livable portion of their income, and there are a select more who can do it with a few revenue-generating projects.
Things like success are beyond our control, unfortunately. We can’t perfectly predict when a vampire romance will become the hit-genre to write in. We can’t guarantee that 100 people will buy our books at full price. We can’t even guarantee that one person will read our article or blog post.
As a writer, you have to develop tough skin. This isn’t a one-hit-wonder type of gig. Authors have to pitch to dozens of publications before their book takes off (and that’s even if it takes off), and then they have to keep producing. Self-published writers are forced to do all the business tasks of promoting and managing their work, even outside of writing.
It’s a grueling process, but those who stick with it understand that there are certain things that are out of their control — that is, things that we have no stake in. Luckily, there are things that are within our control, and when you focus on those things, you can increase your chances of success. Here are a few things within your power that you can keep working on now to better your chances of finding success in the future.
Your writing goals
Especially as a self-published author, you get to determine the goals you go after. That might be publishing a book every month, every quarter, or every year. Other writers might focus on picking up one new client every few months. You get to determine which goals take priority in your writing life.
These goals are typically things that you can accomplish by your hands alone. You can make a goal of selling 100 copies of your book or getting 100 reads on a blog post, but if you post and leave it to chance, you’re never going to reach that goal. The writing goals you set for yourself should be things that, with hard work, you can accomplish without the assistance of others.
I get it — sometimes you work for clients and don’t always write what you want. But you can control which personal projects you work on outside of work and freelancing. The personal projects you choose to work on can be anything, and maybe not even writing related. What you do in your free time is completely under your control. You can write a new, fun project or you can grind away at your novel in progress.
My favorite personal projects are the ones I absolutely love to work on. You should enjoy what you work on in your free time, otherwise, why do it?
You may not have control over who accepts your work, but you do have control over where you send it. Be that a publisher, agent, editor, or magazine, you can send your work wherever you choose. Increase your chances of success by sending in a polished piece of work and sending one on-topic or in-genre of what the place is looking for. Pending any submission fees, you’re typically in control of where your work can go.
As much as people want to complain about not having enough time, writers who take control of their schedule discover there are plenty of times to write. I used to complain about not being able to write in the fifteen minutes I had between pitching lessons. I felt like I couldn’t get into the flow and it was just a waste of time to pull out the document. Then, I learned that I didn’t have to write to write. I started using that time to plot or jot ideas down, preparing myself for what I’d work on. Then, in the evening when I had an hour before bedtime, I could sit down and write for the entire time instead of wasting fifteen minutes trying to figure out what to write.
Others find writing time in the morning, cut out part of their lunch break, or even eliminate social media to get writing done. You are in control of writing time, you just have to be creative in where you find it.
Publishing and sharing
We live in a world where writing (and nearly everything else) can be published in a quick click of a button… but that doesn’t mean it should be. You as a writer are in control of what you publish, where you publish it, and how you publish it. Anyone can make a Medium account and start publishing articles. Even my grandma knows how to make a Facebook post.
You can choose how you publish your work. You can write something and keep it for yourself, you can publish it with or without editing, and you can post it on multiple sites. You can also write something and never show it to the world. Your writing is yours, and whether you choose to share it with others is in your control.
Staying the course
You are also in control of whether you’ll stick with writing. It’s a long game, and not everyone is willing to keep at it long enough to see success. But success favors the consistent, the prolific, and the focused. You may not see it now, in a month, in a year, or in twenty. You are in control of your writing and whether you step off the path at any point in your journey.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get more articles like this.
This was originally published on Medium.