by Lisa Norman
When I’m teaching, students ask me what the magic key to success is. My clients ask me, too. Just last week, I met a young writer who asked me this same question. He wanted to know the magic formula for success. In his email, I saw the same emotions I’d seen many times over. “I’m afraid. I want to do it right. I don’t want to waste time. Just tell me what to do!”
There are a lot of people selling the magic key: The one thing that you can do to guarantee success.
The key is: There is no key.
Even more amazing: there is no lock.
Perhaps you will argue with my thoughts, but let me share what I’ve learned from years of working with authors from different backgrounds who have obtained different levels of success.
I’ve been in the industry for a long time. Long enough to know that some very talented people haven’t broken through while others have.
Sure, some people get lucky, but lots of folks have succeeded by making their own luck.
Although patience certainly helps when things get tough, I’ve seen impatient people succeed and patient people fail.
I’ve seen lots of people work hard and succeed. I’ve also seen people work hard and fail. And then there are those who don’t work hard and somehow just fall into success!
Money makes things easier sometimes, but there are doors that money can’t open. I’ve seen people succeed with little to no money invested, and I’ve also seen people fail despite throwing money around.
I’ve also seen the opposite of each of these points. I’ve seen people succeed with skill, luck, patience, hard work, and money. Each of them tackled their career using their own unique life experiences.
First, define success for yourself. Don’t use anyone else’s definition.
What will achieving that goal give you? I know NYT authors who don’t feel successful! I know award-winning authors who feel unsatisfied.
Go deeper. Ask yourself what you really want. What’s your underlying goal?
Once you have that definition, now you know what success looks like for you. Achieving that underlying goal may look very different than your first answer. But achieving that underlying goal will be more fulfilling.
Be open to new trends and new experiments. Try new things.
Having fun while working can keep you going when everything seems to go wrong.
How can you make that happen?
I teach marketing and indie publishing, social media and websites. I give writers tools. But no tool will guarantee you will reach your goal.
There is no one path to success. There is just your path. And that path starts with a single step.
A friend years ago likened our path through life to steppingstones in a misty swamp. Sometimes we can only see the next step.
What’s your next step?
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Lisa Norman's passion has been writing since she could hold a pencil. While that is a cliché, she is unique in that her first novel was written on gum wrappers. As a young woman, she learned to program and discovered she has a talent for helping people and computers learn to work together and play nice. When she's not playing with her daughter, writing, or designing for the web, she can be found wandering the local beaches.
Lisa writes as Deleyna Marr and is the owner of Deleyna's Dynamic Designs, a web development company focused on helping writers, and Heart Ally Books, an indie publishing firm. She teaches for Lawson Writer's Academy.
Interested in learning more from Lisa? See her teaching schedule below.
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