The Writer’s Roller Coaster

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The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey
By Joanna Penn
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 164 pp., $6.99

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joanna Penn’s The Successful Author Mindset aids writers on their creative journey. Ms. Penn writes fiction, non-fiction, runs her own award winning website,, and considers herself an entrepreneur, as should all authors as we create value from ideas. Her prior business consulting experience makes her approach unique in the writing community.

This three-part book covers Mindset Aspects of Creativity and Writing, Mindset Aspects after Publishing, and Tips for Success on the Author Journey. Each part is comprised of short sections based upon a possible issue with her suggested antidote.

**Confession time – I’ve read Part I only, because she begins Part II with a warning, “Don’t read this chapter if you haven’t published yet!” Based on what I’d already read, I believed her and obeyed. I’ll resume once I’m published.

The seventeen sections in Part I cover familiar topics, like self doubt, fear of failure, your inner critic, perfectionism, writer’s block, failure to be original, lack of time to write, creativity issues, etc., but Ms. Penn adds new insights and consideration points. The bibliography runs three pages and includes many well-known and referenced books on writing, but it goes beyond the writing genre as well as includes podcasts.

The common writing challenges are re-presented and then tackled with atypical antidotes. Rather than just be yourself, writers write, relax, journaling solves all, and other unhelpful mantras, she offers concrete suggestions and reasons for each challenge that address the deeper cause and not a surface level symptom. Often at least two apropos quotes drive home her topic. Two examples: “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress” Philip Roth, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies” Nelson Mandela.

The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey offers concrete suggestions for dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of writing. I look forward to Parts II and III.

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