Redefining Writing Success: Learning to Fly in Today’s Congested Writing World

IcarusI was an innocent dreamer when I arrived in Los Angeles.

I had big plans and it all felt like the beginning of a movie to me. I was about to start studying in one of the best writing program in the country (University of Southern California. Go Trojans!) and I could feel the destiny thick around me like cigarette smoke. I could smell it on my clothes and in my hair; I could taste it on my tongue. In my mind I was certain that this moment, this arrival, was the true start of any future and inevitable biography that someone would write about me.

The stuff of legends.

That first night I had to stay in a hotel. And I practically skipped (already wearing my USC sweatshirt) as I approached the front desk. Behind it was an older, somewhat heavy, bored-looking woman and, noticing my sweatshirt, casually asked if I was a student. Oh, the can of worms she just unleashed!

I quickly talked about the writing program and the professors I was going to study under, about my books, about my scripts, and about my plans, etc. The words (and dreams) flooded out of me. I could have gone on all day.

And when I finally stopped to take a breath, she casually interrupted and said, “Yeah, I’m a writer too. Here is your key.” Continue reading

The Road More Traveled: Sacrifice and Luck, the Two Paths to Writing Success

The older I become the more I’ve come to believe that there are really only two paths to success with writing. One is a thorny path that is something akin to what Frodo experienced on his way to Mount Doom (and you’ll be lucky if you only lose part of a finger); and the other has rainbows, freshly mowed grass, beautiful pools with jumping fish, and I’m pretty sure I saw a unicorn once. They are simply the roads of sacrifice and luck.

Many writers I know view the path of luck as almost an urban myth. That can’t be! they claim, everyone has to work to land their careers!  No, it does exist, my friend, yes, it does. If you don’t believe me, ask the daughter of Mary Higgins Clark, the son of Stephen King or Anne Rice’s son. You can find all three of them on with shiny book deals for their first works. Continue reading