Kathryn Knowles, Author of The Quiescence Trilogy and Founder of Mad Endeavour.
After much consideration, I’ve decided to start a blog where I can chronicle some of my experiences becoming an author and balancing that work with my other responsibilities and artistic pursuits to achieve success. I especially want to share some tips for other Canadian authors, since most of the resources I’ve found are written from a US perspective.
To begin, a little background info on me.
As you may already know from my bio, I am also a professional composer, conductor, and cellist. I have a Master’s degree in Music composition and another Master’s in International Business. I think there’s an undergrad and a graduate diploma in there somewhere too.
You see, I used to collect university degrees like Beanie Babies, only to discover that, like Beanie Babies, their value did not increase as advertised. Now, I find myself with an expensive collection of degrees that no one cares about. Even I have trouble pretending they’re worth what I spent on them.
But maybe I’ll elaborate on that another time…
For now, all you need to know is that I have always been a multitasker, struggling to choose one path at the expense of all the others. I have always tried to balance multiple jobs, multiple dreams. I love music and I love business – I love composing, performing, conducting and teaching; I love leading, organizing, drafting spreadsheets, and strategic planning. I love a lot of things.
But – and here’s the important bit – I have never loved anything nearly as much as I’ve loved writing and publishing my first trilogy. Every single step of the process has been exciting, engaging, rewarding, and fun. It has given me a new perspective on everything I do. I’m no longer satisfied to toil away at work that isn’t satisfying and empowering. Much as I love hard work, maybe now I want to feel rewarded and contented in my career, instead of exhausted and distracted.
In 2021, I attended an artist presentation led by the Ontario Arts Council. One of the presenters said something that changed my entire outlook on my career. He said the most important question you need to answer for yourself is this:
What does success look like to you?
The question seemed so simple, so obvious. But over time, it started to nag at me, haunting me and daring me to be honest with myself. It’s easy to get bogged down and stifled by other people’s definition of success – or worse yet, society’s definition. Ugh. But in order to move forward, I needed to answer this question for myself.
So here it is. Success to me looks like this:
I make a comfortable living, working entirely on creative projects that inspire and energize me, setting my own schedule, working hard and efficiently so I can enjoy plenty of rest time with loved ones and appreciate the magic of my fleeting life on this Earth.
That’s it. Pretty simple at the end of the day. And this journey of becoming a writer has brought me so much closer to my goal.
Now, hopefully I can share some insights and tips to help you get one step closer to your own definition of success.