Wednesday, December 07, 2016

IWSG: Where Will We Be in Five Years?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. If you haven't yet, join in. You'll be glad you did!



Each month we have a question. This month's question is:

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

This month's question is quite a challenge. Of course, when every novelist imagines five years into the future, we dream of big success. Maybe a movie based on one of our books or a few weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List.



But in reality, I think many of us just want our books to be read. We work hard to put words onto the page and we hope someone, somewhere reads what we write and connects with it.



This year has been an amazing one for me. I spent my time in schools, telling children about my books.



I worked with a group of writer friends to create a great book...



AND I saw my freelance writing work appear on NYPost.com, Mental Floss, The Week, and a handful of other great sites.




Personally, I've come to a bit of a crossroads in my freelance writing career. In five years, I hope to have many more middle-grade and chapter books on the shelves. But my super-secret behind-the-scenes content writing pays better than some of the above-mentioned websites, as glamorous as they may be. Glamour is overrated.



The exception is the writing I do that helps me reach possible readers. I have an upcoming piece in this magazine:




As well as this magazine:



I may never be famous enough to make the cover, but more bylines like that will make me plenty happy! Besides, fame is HIGHLY overrated.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

P.S.: Autographed books make great Christmas gifts!!! I'll be signing copies of my books for my online friends on December 19th. Order by December 16th, specify what names you'd like them signed to, and Parnassus will ship them directly to you!!! Click here to go to the site. (There are also a ton of other great signed books you can order from there.)


81 comments:

  1. Some prestigious places! Well done.
    Super secret - are you a ghostwriter? I hear they get paid well.
    Fame or fortune? That is the question.

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    1. Yes, but not for novels...content writing for several different marketing firms. I also write for a few tech sites under my name...those pay really well. Thank goodness for the 13 years I spent in I.T. I might not have been good at fixing computers, but I can write about all the tech topics businesses deal with every day.

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  2. Great post, Stephanie. I love your honesty. It sounds like you've had a super year. So pleased for you and congratulations on all your accomplishments. Super work!

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    1. Thank you, Nicola! I was feeling bummed about not hearing back on a couple of things for MONTHS now (which isn't a big deal, but it feels like gloom and doom!), and then I made a list of what I accomplished this year and I felt better!

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  3. Congrats on your accomplishments and wishing you much success in reaching your goals for the coming years.

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  4. Congratulations! What a successful year you have had:) Sounds like you are on a roll. I see great things for you in the next five years.

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    1. I hope so, Jennifer! You never know in this business...that's both scary and great at the same time.

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  5. I'm in awe of your success as a freelancer and an author! I really like how you pinpointed what many folks really want to achieve, myself included which is just having people read their work and like it. If I could accomplish that I'd be really delighted.

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    1. SO true. And isn't it sad that we tend to forget about that after a while? Even our blog posts reach people we've never met every day...that's VERY powerful. We shouldn't take that for granted.

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  6. Well done!

    I'll take fortune over fame any day of the week.

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    1. "I always like to say to people who want to be rich and famous, try being rich first. See if that doesn't cover most of it." - Bill Murray

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  7. Congratulations!!! I have subscriptions to both of those publications and can't wait to read your articles.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thank you! Writer's Digest is supposed to be the February issue and April for The Writer. But stories can be bumped. I'm pretty sure the Writer's Digest one will go, though, since I saw the actual galley!

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  8. Congratulations on an excellent year! And I will totally be looking for your article in WD magazine. :)

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    1. Thank you, Madeline! That one is HUGE to me, since I lived by that magazine when I first started writing.

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  9. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Stephanie! Writer's Digest is no joke. Awesome! :)

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    1. That was definitely a big one for me. True story: I got the email that they wanted to buy it on the day of Piper Morgan #1 & #2's release. I smiled for an hour! Of course...nothing but silence since then on the writing front, but this is definitely a roller-coaster ride.

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  10. I'll need to look for these articles of yours.

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  11. Congratulations! I'm sure that the next 5 years will bring you even more success. Happy writing :-)

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  12. Stephanie, congratulations on all of your successes. I wish for you that all your writing dreams come true. I'm in a different phase of my life. In 5 years I'll be 72 and hopefully still writing, but it's not a career trajectory for me.

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    1. I hope so! And yes, one of your posts about our approach changing once we reach retirement resonated with me. I have an upcoming blog post about it and I link to your post.

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  13. Keep on rocking! It seems like you're got this writing thing figured out - what do you have to be insecure about? ;-P

    IWSG December

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    1. Are we ever really secure? I think even those we think of as superstars in the writing field face insecurities, probably on a daily basis.

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  14. that's so interesting about Glamour! having a piece in there was always a dream to me but I guess it makes sense they don't pay much--those fashion mags have always been over the top!

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    1. Just for clarification--much of the writing I've done has been for the online versions of websites like Cosmopolitan and GoodHousekeeping...not the print versions. Print does pay much better, but it's way tougher to break into those. Most of those publications are looking for content for their online sites, but it doesn't pay as well as content writing. I think many people would think the pay was pretty good--corporate content is just more lucrative in many cases than some of those sites. (Writer's Digest was for the print version, though--which was why it was HUGE to get that email accepting my pitch!)

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  15. Wow. You do get around. I wouldn't want to be famous, but I would like my books to be read. I guess that's what pseudonyms are for.

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    1. Absolutely! There are a lot of opportunities out there that I don't attempt because I don't want my name attached to certain things. I think it's tougher when you're a children's writer. I have to limit what I do with my byline, but I can ghostwrite those things!

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  16. I'd say you are achieving worthy goals - reaching kids, reaching other writers, and spreading around a lot of writing energy. Keep up the good work. Fame and glory can be fleeting

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    1. Definitely true! I love school visits, but they are EXHAUSTING! I haven't figured out the cure for that yet. I come home feeling like I've run a marathon.

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  17. Oh hey! I've heard of those magazines!

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  18. You're on a roll and you've done well, Stephanie.
    The Best Night Ever looks like a fabulous collaborative project. And you've been published in all those magazines...good, consistent work always wins, hands down!
    Happy IWSG Day!

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    1. I agree. I think that's my goal...just a long, steady career. Did you know your http://writer-in-transit.co.za/ site is down? At least I haven't been able to get to it...

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  19. WoW!! You have written for some impressive magazines. There is no doubt you are a delightful writer. You have been published in far more impressive places than I have. Enjoy... you are on your way.

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    1. Thank you, Gwynn. I have been doing this for about 25 years (off and on), so I think I'm more an example of perseverance than greater talent than anyone else!

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  20. Congrats on all of your writing accomplishments! How wonderful you've gotten to share in schools. And I agree on the glamour; unfortunately many of the big outlets don't pay much. I really am not fond of this trend of "paying" via a platform boost. Sounds to me like these news outlets are getting a lot of free or cheap content while they profit. Very cool that you've got work in Writer's Digest coming up!

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    1. The interesting thing is, those sites that say, "We can't pay, but it's great exposure" often offer relatively nothing in the way of exposure. The ones that DO offer that exposure actually pay their writers. I started on Elance making $.01 a word and rapidly upped my rates with every proposal I put in. That was six years ago. About two hours ago, I turned down a job that I would have accepted two years ago because it was below my rate. If people need samples, I'd advise them to just create some and post them on Medium for free...then use that to get work. There's no need to write for free for someone else...even if you're making $.01 a word to get those samples, it's better than nothing and it's the first step on a very high ladder!

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  21. I'm super impressed by your accomplishments this far! I agree that the main goal is getting our books READ. So far I have only two handfuls of readers, and my heart is so full by each and every one of just them! It's this brand new feeling of happiness that I've fallen in love with. I can't wait to keep writing for them. Christy

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    1. Thanks, Christy! I remember when I first started blogging 10 years ago, someone emailed me from London to say my blog (which was on MySpace at the time) was the only thing getting her and her classmates through exam week. I was being paid absolutely nothing for that blog...but my words were helping people on another continent. That's pretty powerful. It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that people out there are actually reading our words and being touched by them. That's really what this is all about.

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  22. It's always interesting to me to glimpse someone in a different creative field and see how that all works. We all seem to have our fingers in multiple pies, no matter what kind of instrument of creativity we are holding. You have magazine writing and book writing and so on. I have my main paintings, but also magazines I contribute art to, and galleries, and so on. Same thing... but different!

    You have wonderful accomplishments! I suppose your main goal of getting your books read is no so different from getting my paintings seen. I want to create work that resonates, makes viewers want to spend time with it (maybe even fall into it for a spell) and I imagine that painting with words has the same goal in mind.

    I suppose for me, in five years, I simply want to be satisfied with myself and my work. Not done growing and painting, but satisfied. I've done the newspapers and television, I've done the grand solo shows and shaken hands (which makes me want to dive behind a plant, I don't know how you do big talks with schools.) That doesn't appeal to me in the least. But making something I truly like, that I am satisfied with, that appeals to who I am. My purpose.

    So I have hope for five years out. Whether I can actually SEE myself there in five years? That's a bit more hazy!

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    1. So many people want fame and fortune but really, if you look at people in our respective fields who have that, the thing that brings them the greatest happiness is just to create. That is no different from what we (with our smaller audiences) do. Sure, it would be great to have so much money rolling in that we didn't have to worry about money, but fame brings a whole new level of problems.

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  23. Fame is overrated. Much better to be working steady and having your words read. Good for you. (I'll have to look out for the Writer's Digest et al.)

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    1. Thank you, Liz! Working steadily is definitely the goal.

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  24. Looks like not even the sky is your limit, Stephanie. Good for you! To have connected with readers is a true honor and steady work sure doesn't hurt ;-)

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    1. It never feels quite steady enough! I think you always worry that it'll stop coming, no matter what happens.

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  25. Wow, Writer's Digest has been a fave mag of mine since the early 90's. Great places. Congrats on all you have accomplished. You go.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Me, too! It's a great magazine. Thank you, Juneta!

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  26. Yes the behind the scene work can often be more beneficial financially. Unless you become a big star of course. Congrats on all that you have and will keep on achieving Stephanie.

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    1. I think you're a freelancer, too, so you know what I'm talking about!

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  27. Fame is overrated. It gets in the way because you have tons of fans bugging you. ;);)

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    1. Haha! Yes, I believe that goes WAY above "first world problems!"

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  28. I love the enthusiasm! Glad to hear 2016 was great to you!

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  29. Hooray for your successes! I hope 2017 brings many more!

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    1. I hope so, too. For you and me both!

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  30. Your books look beautiful! I'd say you seem very successful to me :)

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  31. Stephanie, you are amazing and a true inspiration to the unwashed unpublished (at least me). I do agree that "fame" is overrated. But with your upcoming articles in the two major writing magazines, I suspect you are going to have learn to deal with it! Congrats!

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    1. Thank you, Lee! I'm not sure how much attention people pay to bylines, but it'll be SO exciting to see my name in a print magazine.

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  32. Wow! I've been researching a bit about freelancing and I'm feeling very cautious about it, but I'm always inspired and impressed by your posts about your work.
    Congrats on all of your hard work, and I have to say that multiple viewpoint project looks awesome!
    Merry Christmas and Happy 2017!

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  33. I'd love to talk to you about the content writing that you are doing. And congrats on the print magazine byline!

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  34. You are busy, busy. Congratulations on your forthcoming articles. I subscribe to Writer's Digest. Will be watching for that one. And yes, I'm happy when someone reads one of my books and if they review it, I'm over the moon. Great post.

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  35. I enjoyed reading about your accomplishments. It's inspiring! Love the concept of one story written from seven different points of view and by different authors.

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  36. I look forward to reading your article in Writer's Digest. Merry Christmas!

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  37. Congrats on your upcoming articles! And you've done really awesome this year :) Wishing loads more success in the future!

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  38. Stephanie, I am so proud of you and am anxious to read your articles. Kudos.
    Our five year plans sounded pretty darn similar:)
    Ordered my copy of Rescue.
    Have a great one.

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  39. Congrats on a great year of writing for you! Your books look so darn cute.

    Have a great Holiday season!

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  40. I forgot about the movie aspect of success. That would be a dream come true, hahaaa...

    Congratulations about your articles in awesome magazines!!!

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  41. YAYAYAY! for all of the writing you've been doing and the success you've been having! I'm so happy for you!

    And I adore the concept of Best Night Ever. I bet it's a great read! :)

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  42. Wow! Congrats! You've done some awesome stuff. :)

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  43. I'm going indie from here on out, so I don't see that changing in the next five years. I've been burned by agents and publishers, so from now on I'm taking charge of my own career and success.

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  44. wow, you ARE famous! congrats on a completely awesome year!!
    i wanna be like you =)

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  45. Your new book looks like a really good one and very unique. While I haven't been able to get published like you have, interacting on your blog, and seeing you get published in the NY Post, Mental Floss and other places is a tremendous accomplishment, and makes me never want to give up my goals with my blog, even when I get frustrated. Despite your obvious success, you still take time to share so much of yourself and to offer support. I'm really so proud of you and thrilled to have met you. KUDOS!

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  46. Stephanie, how cool would that be to have a movie made from one of your books. My wishes exactly. Have a safe and fun holiday season!

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  47. Have a wondrous weekend, Steph.

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  48. Well done! You should be very proud of yourself! I know a famous person! Congrats!!! I couldn't talk infront of people! But, you never know! For me, I just want to keep creating and make a decent living off of it. To know people are treasuring my art, means the world to me! Big Hugs!

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  49. Sounds like a fantastic year! Impressive for sure. A five year plan including more of the same and maybe a surprise or three seems like a good one. Best of luck.

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  50. I'll be excited to see your contribution in Writer's Digest! I have received so many helpful and guiding tips from that publication.

    Five years ahead? I always used to think of things like that or, "by the time I am XX years old I will. . . " all the time. Somewhere along the way I realized it was keeping me from doing work I really wanted to do but couldn't necessarily envision long term. I'd forget about the small little steps between too often. I was younger then but even today I keep going back to the little daily building blocks and let them guide me where they will. But five years out. . . well, I want to have the two books and the podcast I am in the early stages of working on now all out in the world and to just continue to grow and expand my miniature/fantasy work so that it continues to support me full time. And yes, fame is definitely overrated. Everything I have done and felt that I have been successful at in my life has been about finding my niche in the larger audience. From writing music to stage performance to making art. I took to focusing on a smaller and often less explored market/audience. So, while most were throwing everything in and shooting for the moon, I was just fine with the spectacular view from the halfway point. lol :)

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