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Blog

Measuring success

Brenda St John Brown

I've had a weird week, full of self-doubt even as I log some good progress on my current novel. Maybe it was the $0.59 royalty statement I got. Maybe it was seeing my books plummet in the Amazon rankings because I'd stopped advertising. Likely, it was a combination of the two and the realization that my traditional measure of success means I'm not only struggling, but failing.

See, I've always measured success by financial reward. My experience in the corporate world was always pretty straightforward -- work hard, get promoted, get a raise and sometimes, even, a bonus. I realize lots of factors come into play here -- not least of which is that I had a boss who made those decisions and deemed me "worthy." But, I also worked my ass off; compensation was the trade off.

Cue current day. Do I work my ass off? Truthfully, my work is more erratic than it was when I was logging hours in an office, but since marketing, making ads, participating in discussions and research count towards the overall end product, I'm not always writing words, but I log a lot of hours in this job. A lot. For a $0.59 royalty statement. You can see where the disenchantment might start.

And I thought to myself, "Is it worth it?" I asked my writer friends, "Is it worth it?" I asked my husband, running friends, dogs, "Is it worth it?" Everyone said variations on the same, "Only you can answer that." (The dogs were fairly enthusiastic in their response, but it may have been because I was making lunch at the time.)

So, I had a long hard think with myself. And I came out of with the realization that if I continue measuring success by sales and financial reward, I'd continue having these quarterly meltdowns, and that's not good for anyone. I said in a post just a month ago, I was going to focus on building a readership this year and, wow, how easy did I lose sight of that? Gone like a bag of Doritos.

But I'm recommitting to it here. I've got LIES WE LIVE available for free right now for newsletter subscribers. (E.g., if you haven't read it yet, now's a great time. And don't worry about the newsletter thing. I promise not to spam you.) And I'm working on a new book, which is back in the New Adult genre, a la SWIMMING TO TOKYO. It's a writing/editing endeavor, and I should have an update on timing by the end of the month. 

If you've stuck with this post this far, thank you! It's a weird old thing being a writer and even 3 books in, I'm obviously still trying to figure it out. Thanks for sticking with me!