Skip to main content

What do you want from your writing? Make that your definition of success

For years, as a writer, I have been lost in a jungle of my own making – thoughts that juggled a hundred ideas but took me nowhere, among other things. 

In January 2014, I told myself firmly, “That won’t do. You will sit down and write.” The moment I became firm, I began to write. Not at the pace that I want to. Still, I can honestly say that a majority of the stumbling blocks have been overcome.

Then I read this thought provoking post by Jane Friedman who argues that one must answer this question to grow as a writer: “Do you know what you want from your writing?”

Jane Friedman cites broad and general examples that enthusiastic writers tend to cite. “Fame,” “Livelihood” and “I want to be heard” are among them. I began to feel dejected. These are not my reasons. Does that make a non-serious writer? Maybe I should just write instead of getting into a philosophical rut about why I want to write in the first place.

But let me not jump the gun. We are talking about THE Jane Friedman here and you simply can’t take her words lightly! So, lets go back to it, shall we? You can also follow Jane Friedman on Twitter. 


Then she makes some pertinent points for us to consider: [Please note that the following are points that Jane Friedman has cited in the article highlighted above. You can read all her writings on Jane Friedman's website here]

1. Imagine what it would be like if you achieved your goal.
Often, the very fact that you can do this easily, or the trouble you find with such visualization, can be a clue as to whether or not this is actually what you want.

2. Difficulty in visualizing what life would be like if you achieved your goal may mean that goal is still a little too general.

3. You should have a single, specific thing, the thing you really want from your writing, the thing for the sake of which you want everything else.

4.  Express that goal in a single sentence. 

5. Remember: It’s the single most important sentence you will ever write. It is your crie de coeur, your battle cry. It will sustain you and provide a compass for your entire writing journey.

6. This is your definition of success, the only definition that matters to you from this moment on.

Now after reading this, I sit down to answer this question. I realize that it isn't as easy as it sounds. There are lots of reasons why I want to write. For example: Stories to share, Secrets to reveal, Dreams to unveil, Learning to let go by writing in words. 

The more I think about it, I ask myself: does any of this define why I want to really write? Nope. I need to figure it out. Boil and simmer it down to one sentence. The sentence that can chart my journey ahead as a writer. Get off to a good start.

Yet this is a question I haven’t thought about seriously. But now I feel the need to do it and to find my battle cry. 

See it this way. As a writer, I am now focused on my own way to define my success.

Will you join me and share what your definition of success is? Waiting to hear from you.   

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading this post. Please Share this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people in a positive way. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

POPULAR BOOK REVIEWS

Comments

Vishnu said…
This is a provocative question, Swapna. It is easy yet so complex. i tried to click on her blog but seems to be down on the moment. So I don't know how others have responded and what they've said.

I want my writing to give me hope, inspiration and remind me to persist. So, I would assume that's the same reason I write for others? I hope I've done the exercise right but hoping to catch her blog when it does go back live.

I can see how picking one goal will help keep us more focused and on track. I think one way to realize the purpose of our writing it to look through all of our writing and pick out the common thread or message. In the writing is the answer:)
jk said…
NGDCs .. Sometimes just for some fun while alive with Minimum Result Orientation can be an answer to many questions .. By the way why are you not seen in FB now a days .. ?? ..

jk

https://www.facebook.com/iMightLikeItDoNotMeanIagreeWithThat
Dear Vishnu,

As always, it's a learning experience when you share your insights on any topic.

Regarding Jane Friedman's blog, I checked and it seemed to be working. Could it be a browser related issue perhaps? Hope you are able to read her post soon.

The point you mentioned 'Look through all of our writing and pick out the common thread or message' has been a wonderful compass for me. I have already started doing that, thanks to you.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts here. Truly appreciate and value it.

@JK - Not sure what that means....but thanks for dropping by. Cheers.
jk said…
NGDCs .. sometimes writing 4 fun with some minimum result orientation can be interesting to think about ..

Fun if Goal is achieved, minimum result orientation takes away the need to visualize about achievements .. Fun with minimum result orientation (like a KarmaYogi after fun if some jargon is preferred) seems to take care 3,4,5,6 quests too probably ..

My internet connection often comes and goes, your FaceBook profile is not seen for many days now .. It could even be an FB prank .. I just cross - checked whether you deleted or hid the profile .. Many times FB plays such pranks with me hiding the profiles of others .. IDK if there are some fake messages too been sent .. As today I observed some hacker even doing some corrections with one of my doc (rtf) files even in my computer's hard disk too .. With many such incidents happening I consider my computer a Public thing now a days and do not care much about privacy in it with these overwhelming hackers .. just wanted 2 cross check with you whether hiding your FB profile also a Hacker Activity or not .. :) .. I was looking for you for an advise with Public Internet Statement of my Will too .. and was thinking about preparing something like that registering .. but then your profile is not seen in FB .. That made me suspicious about the hacker activity in my profile and computer blocking an Advocate like you .. just tried a long explanation with a serious exclamation that I happened 2 c in ur lines ..

regards,
jk
http://jayakrishnanmenon.wordpress.com

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered that I would receive such online abuse for writing this or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience or a perspective, not to insult others.  My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to abuse me because our journeys are entirely different narratives. My life and yours are not the same at any given point of time.

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.A new book 'Ants among Elephants' written by Sujatha Gidla, who writes about herself as being born 'an untouchable in India' teaches you everything you probably want to know abo…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

Balanced diet for ladies: Eat according to your body’s age

Experts say that as years roll by, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients decline, so it is even more important to formulate a balanced diet and eat according to one’s age.

The following age-specific information (excluding the details given under ‘Expectant Mothers’) is a summary from an article I read in the popular UK food magazine called Delicious and the article is titled “Eat your age: Wise up to your changing needs.” It is written by Anna Montague and published in  March 2011. 

[READ: Why Salad is Good for you ]


FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Balanced Diet during Teen Years Iron deficiency is seen as a predominant condition in most teenage girls and this trend is increasing. Teenage girls are not getting enough iron from their diet.

200gm of low fat yoghurt every dayLean meat, fish, pulses and eggsDried fruitsLeafy vegetablesFresh fruitsSay no to sugary drinksHaving a daily sufficient calcium intake is important for girls as it is like having ‘bone in the bank’ for the future.
Balanced…

A Book Review: The Test of my Life by Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh’s book ‘The Test of My Life’ has been summed up accurately by ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar in two words – ‘Pure Inspiration.’ I can’t think of a better word for this book.
Yuvraj Singh’s ‘The Test of My Life’ takes us through a tumultuous, personal account of Yuvraj’s life as a cricketer and cancer survivor. The best and most interesting part is where Yuvraj talks about his ‘deal with God.’ He told God something on the lines of ‘Take my life but give us the World Cup’ and it almost became true in his life, according to Yuvraj. All of this is just an icing on the cake. There’s so much to learn and look forward to in Yuvraj’s book. You should buy the book - it's pure inspiration. ABSOLUTE HONESTY Throughout the book, you will marvel at Yuvraj’s honesty. It isn’t easy to write so openly about a difficult childhood because of parents who couldn’t get along with each other. It isn’t easy to confess how one’s parent would throw ice cold bucket of water on an early winter m…

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Why Om is powerful and important

Summers are here and I love to bask in the sunshine. We all do, don't we, especially after a brief spell of gloomy, dark winters? The last three months have been challenging for me on the path of Sadhana - many slip ups that I am not proud of. These are gentle reminders to maintain steadfast self-discipline. 

You may wonder, ''Why should one be disciplined on the spiritual path?"



FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST


Can you study any subject and master it without exercising discipline? Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a stock exchange broker or a blogger, can you accomplish important milestones without sticking to a certain level of discipline in the way you work? The most successful people across all spheres of life are known to be highly disciplined.

As Swami often points out, even sports, which is meant for enjoyment, cannot have champions unless they are highly disciplined. If you are a blogger, don't you ensure a certain degree of discipline in your approach to findi…