IWSG September, 2021: Defining Success


“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi 

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blogging event created by author Alex J Cavanaugh. Alex's awesome co-hosts this month Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!  Be sure to visit each cohost and Alex.


Now to the optional question this month: How do you define success as a writer? 

I’m a short story writer, but in recent years branched out to write the first drafts of four books. I've ePublished once and (in the past) had a few short stories published. Not much for a lifetime of writing, but I have tons of saved files and notebooks full of stories. Do I feel successful? And how do I define success? 

I write (just about every day) for 1-3 hours. This is a (huge) success. My commitment to writing fiction each day is my strength. Is that enough success for me as a writer? For me, success as a writer means completing my work for publication and getting it in the reader's hands. Income would be nice, but not necessary at this time in my life. 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~ Anne Frank

Successful writing starts somewhere, an idea that begs for liberation from your brain and a plan for development. After that, you must write, write, write, finish and launch. Then do it again and again.

There are many roads to success. How about a recipe for success (just for fun)?

Mix together these dry ingredients. 

½ cup of an idea, sifted (does not need to be fresh or unique)

½ cup of inspiration (often found in the oddest places)

1 cup of planning (on paper or stored in memory)

One pinch of a dream

Add the following fluid ingredients to the above mixture: 

Equal and large amounts of hard work and persistence.  

Optional, but highly recommended: one or more skilled mentors and/or groups of likeminded people (Find some at the IWSG website).


Bake until your project is (accurately) completed. 

Share with others. 

And if this project 'seems' to fail, DO IT ALL AGAIN tomorrow

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” Sidney Sheldon

What does success mean to you?



nashvillecats2 said…
A great post to read thanks for sharing.
J Lenni Dorner said…
Great way to answer the question. I like your recipe.
Love your recipe. Which could be extended to any creativity.
I love your recipe! And the Sheldon quote. :) I totally agree that success is devotion to our writing and putting the time in.
Kalpana said…
Your recipe for success in writing is bang on. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.
Just keep working to get it in the reader's hands.
Thanks for co-hosting today!
Natalie Aguirre said…
Thanks for co-hosting with me today. I think writing a few hours a day is a huge success.
Nalin said…
I loved the baking analogy, as well as the reminder that writing for it's own sake and showing up every day is itself a success. Thanks!
Nancy Gideon said…
That's a recipe worth putting on the refrigerator (or the computer screen!). Thanks for co-hosting this month and happy writing!!
ellie said…
So inspiring to read! Yes, I have never had a chance to write as much as I want and yet the time I can find I do my best to make the most of it.
Rachna Chhabria said…
Hi, I too love writing short stories :)

Love this quote by "Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi "
Astrid said…
Love your "recipe"! I also think you're amazing for writing for several hours each day.
Emma L Gill said…
I love your recipe. So, so true. Thanks for co-hosting this month and Happy IWSG Day! :)
Bish Denham said…
As others have said, I love your recipe! Success is subjective, which is what makes it so wonderful. Thanks for co-hosting.
I'm a short story writer, too! I've had some YA adventure stories published. And yes, I've been writing for a long, long, long time. I'm working on my first book-length manuscript, a college memoir. Here's hoping I can get the memoir published.

I LOVE the quotes and the recipe. Thanks for co-hosting this month. All best to you!
cleemckenzie said…
A perfect recipe! And I love short stories--to write and to read, so I'm glad you write them as well.
Fundy Blue said…
Thanks for co-hosting today, and thanks for the great post! You're inspiring, Teresa!
Adrienne Reiter said…
Fantastic analogy. I love the quotes, and I relate to them both. 1 to 3 hours is also about my average between deadlines. Thank you for co-hosting!
Jacqui Murray said…
I love the quotes. It's easy to forget what Anne Frank said, that writing transcends us to a different world.
chickangell said…
An excellent recipe! I completely agree that while money would be nice the key is completing the project and getting it out into the world. from there, what happens happens but we don't quit. We get up and do it again tomorrow!
Lynn La Vita said…
Wonderful and creative recipe. I could see myself adding dry ingredients, the liquids, baking, and sharing. I appreciated learning your strength. Such an important acknowledgement. Thank you for co-hosting this month.
Lynn La Vita http://la-vita-dot-us/write/
Liesbet said…
Lovely recipe. And there is room for alterations based on diets. :-) Thanks for co-hosting this month!
diedre Knight said…
Such an encouraging post! Love the recipe. Thank you for co-hosting!
Lee Lowery said…
Great recipe! And yes, those stories do demand to be liberated from the brain.
Olga Godim said…
Great Anne Frank's quote. And I love your baking recipe.
Carol Kilgore said…
Love your recipe! Success for me is different on different days. I don't ever think about it, but I love those days when the words flow like magic; when someone says they love something I wrote; when a new idea gels; and so many more. Little things.
I love the quote about the blank page. And a great recipe. Doing it all again tomorrow is much more difficult than coming up with ideas, at least for me.
Liza said…
Too funny. Many years ago I won a writing contest (about writing) called "The Write Family Recipe" It was the first thing I ever had published outside of school. It starts: "Take your average person. Add in a cupful of genetic material passed down from a successful journalist grandfather. Add in a splash of..." Thanks for the memory and thank you for co-hosting this month!
Sadira Stone said…
Cute recipe! Thanks so much for co-hosting this month. For me, publishing three books or more per year feels like success. I reached that goal last year. This year? Not 100% sure, but I'm working toward that goal despite time-sucking setbacks.
Melissa said…
We're opposites... I normally write full-length novels and struggled to condense a plot into a short story for IWSG. I really sweated squeezing a believable romance into 6000 words or less. LOL Love the recipe for success. Thanks for co-hosting.
Karen Lynn said…
I'm floored by anybody who can get in a chunk of writing time. I'm more of a squeeze it in wherever it fits kind of girl. Happy IWSG.
Fun recipe for writing! And WTG on your achievements.
Pat Garcia said…
I like the quote by Anne Frank and also your own thoughts on writing. An idea begging for liberation. I can identify with both.
Thank you for co-hosting. I'm sorry about my lateness. I had to finish up my posting for submission to the anthology.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
Jemima Pett said…
I love turning it into a recipe... but just as I play with recipes I've used before with my new combination oven/microwave/grill, I'm having to experiment to find the perfect mix of heat, time and method to bring success. Maybe I should learn from cooking?

Phil Huston said…
You dropped by the other day, before I'd even posted my IWSG response. Thanks for that. You saw something most people from here would have missed - writing! Have to say I love the rural hood - I don;t advertise on other's blogs but I've got some of that of my mother from the Ozarks, and the couch picture? Bam. Thanks again!
Chemist Ken said…
I like the idea of working up to your successes, one step at a time. Finish a book, Publish it. Actually make some money from it. Each of these are steps on the ladder of success.

Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
Jemi Fraser said…
I love this! It really is a process and we have to love it or there's never any success!
Hi Teresa - lovely fun post ... oh those recipes ... as always recipes need adapting, but are always worth repeating. Have a great Autumn with lots of fun and success with your fingers doing the typing. All the best - Hilary
Samantha Bryant said…
Great recipe! Well worth making for oneself :-) Thanks for co-hosting. @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act
J.Q. Rose said…
Clever recipe and I love inspirational quotes. I appreciate your thoughtful and well-written blog post. Thank you for co-hosting!

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