The Literary Rat Race
I've been working on new book proposals in recent months, which gets me thinking about how much I want to be writing in any given year. How many books do I want to sell, versus how much of a sane life I want to have. How outwardly successful do I want to be, and does that have any bearing at all on my happiness? From a survival standpoint, selling more is always better than selling less, but from a sanity standpoint, we all need to have a life that doesn't involve sitting in front of a computer 24/7.
If you write outside the romance genre, you probably will not experience the same push to be prolific that romance authors get. It's one of the few genres where writing 3 or more books a year is considered normal, even desirable, and if you're one of those super-prolific authors who can write fast enough and generate enough publisher interest to write 4-6 books per year, you'll probably find yourself with lots of happy fans who can't get enough of your work. Plus you'll be earning a decent living.
I hear my writer friends discussing this issue pretty often, and it seems nearly impossible to strike a balance. Either you write less and accept that your career might not be as stellar as it could be, or you write more and accept that your life might not be as sane as it could be.
What are your goals as a writer? How do you measure your success? In monitary terms, in terms of accolades and professional respect, or by standards you set for yourself?