IWSG Sept 1: Success as a Writer

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

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!

QUESTION: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

ANSWER: My definition of success: when I am satisfied. I feel my characters’ emotions and scenes transport me to new places. Criticism taught me this lesson.

During a creative workshop, our leader started the writing assignment with a brief guided meditation. I slipped into an altered reality filled with images, color, sound, smells, and emotions.

For the first time in my life I was the story and words emerged on the page.

When time was up, I remained innocent and vulnerable.

I read my piece aloud. As a group, we sat there connected through our imagination. Except one. Her cold rebuke cut deep.

I shut down, curled up and pulled my protective shield around me. The fragrance of fresh coffee turned stale and the birds stopped mid song

Someday, I’ll return. However, next time I will not expose my words until better prepared.

This experience reinforced my belief: if I pin my success on the acts of others, I will not thrive.

I recognize most of us have experienced rejection. If so, how did you recover?

12 thoughts on “IWSG Sept 1: Success as a Writer

  1. Hi,
    I know from experience that rejection is a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t think you ever get used to it but you do find a way to look at it in a positive way. For years my writing was cut to pieces and I had to learn how to find the positive in what was being said. These rejections became the fuel that kept me writing and they still are.

    I hope you get back to your writing soon. Don’t ever let someone else dictate what you can or cannot do. With anything you start, you will start small.

    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Hi Pat,
      I was with writers I knew and thought I could trust. I allowed myself to be exposed. My goal these days is to return to my source of creative and allow the words to flow. Thank you for your wisdom.

  2. Sadly, rejection is a huge part of any creative endeavour. I have cried for an entire day after a critique. It’s one reason why I’m careful when I critique someone’s work. I know from first hand experience how badly it can hurt. We have to shut down that part of us because you’re so right, we learn much if we listen. And we grow to appreciate the diversity of human reaction. I’ve learned more from a harsh critique than from a huge praise. Sad, I know because we need to know what we’re doing right too. Best to you, Lynn!

    1. Hi Joy,
      As your experience has proven, criticism usually serves a purpose. I certainly learn from other peoples’ comments. As I’m writing my reply, I’m reflecting on the incident. Apparently, I made a self-deprecating statement before I read my piece. My preamble struck a cord and she was compelled to correct my behavior. It wasn’t about what I wrote. It’s amazing the layers we uncover when we reflect and write. Thank you for listening, mi amiga.
      P.S, I thrive on your input and advice. Every word improves my writing. I still remember your “Ruby red lipstick” comment. LOL

        1. For the southern part of PV and for some of the boats in anchorage, it was devastating.
          For us, it brought back memories of previous hurricanes and the pressure to prepare adequately.
          For example we had buckets of water next to the toilet in case the water was turned off for a few days.
          We were very lucky. All the utilities stayed on, including internet access.

    1. Hi Alex,
      As I write my replies, I reflect on the incident. It finally dawned on me, I made a self-deprecating statement before I read my piece (during the workshop). My preamble struck a cord with the critique and she was compelled to correct my behavior. It wasn’t about what I wrote.

      Once again, the monthly IWSG blog hop taught me a lesson. I’m fascinated how my core issue was buried and by clarifying my reply I discover the truth. As a result, folks focused on issue different than I intended.

      Thank you for creating this valuable experience. Feed back on my words. Incredible.

  3. Being criticized by others is a hard part of this business. Like Joylene, when I do a critique or even a review, I think before writing something negative. Even if I didn’t care for the piece, that doesn’t mean others won’t. It’s only my opinion I’m expressing. And there’s always something positive to say. After all that story came from someone who had the courage to put it on paper and then share it.

    1. Hi Lee,
      Thanks for find my blog! Not easy this time. Hopefully, this site will behave properly when we blog hop in October.
      After reading the comments on this post, I realized the person’s comments focused on what I said before reading my piece. My preamble struck a cord with her and she was compelled to correct my behavior. It wasn’t about what I wrote. I hurt.
      It’s been a pleasure to get to know you. See ya in October!

  4. Managing others is tough. Finding the right balance and some things are just not predictable. Reactionary people can be hard. Hope future things work out better.

    1. Hi Juneta,
      My goodness, I just read you post. I apologize for my tardy reply. Yes, folks can be unpredictable. And it’s been a challenge from time to time. I’m grateful the vast majority are supportive and a delight to work with.

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