I Gave Away My TV & Made My Stories Free

Last night, I gave my only television to my sister. I am reclaiming the thought-space in my mind, rejecting the ease of stimulus and distraction. I am making time for tasks that are both harder and more meaningful.


Because I’ve defined what success looks like for me. I stopped buying the one-size-fits-all definition of what it means to succeed as a writer. I know what I want, and I can see how I’ll get there. My passion for writing and for sharing my stories is restored. The act of defining what I want freed me, because I’ve finally (FINALLY!) grasped that you and I can both be “real” writers, even if we want different things out of our writing.

the gift is in the giving.The big screen TV couldn’t show me the way to freedom and inspiration. That took introspection, spirituality, and a good kick in the motivation from Dan Holloway’s SELF PUBLISH WITH INTEGRITY. I did the exercises he suggests, not really expecting them to work, but willing to be teachable. One of the first things I realized is that I would write even if I could never distribute my work. I would write because writing is my joy. It’s the jazz and the bliss. My drive to write, abstracted from pressure of preconceived ideas of success,  has nothing to do with becoming “legitimate” or getting a publisher or a movie deal. I would write even if I could never share my stories. Writing is how I play, and I am a playful being. Of course, I can share my stories. That opens up entire planetary systems of introspection, mostly around the question of whether or not I should charge readers for the stories that are given to me as a gift. This topic is a field full of ancient landmines just waiting for one false step, I know. I read the blog posts about the tsunami of stink and the generalized, bizarre panic that there might be too many stories in the world now that anyone can publish. I’m doing cartwheels through that field. I’m standing in the middle of it and offering my stories for free, forever. I’m releasing balloons one at a time, each of them carrying a story on the internet’s breeze.

The reason I have the courage to do this comes from having done the work to determine what MY success looks like.


    • Respecting the nature of the story as gift.
    • Making everything I write available in at least one free format, in as many venues as I can find.
    • Producing stories and novels of the best quality I can, including the expense of a qualified editor.
    • Trusting that the readers who are meant to find my work, will find it.
    • Having a core group of enthusiastic, kind supporters, even if that group is small.
    • Having fun with getting the word out about my stories by making friends and being of service.
    • Producing paperback and e-formats for readers willing to pay for physical copies or convenience.
    • Stickers. There will be stickers involved in this, somehow. And possibly balloons.
    • A stranger sharing my stories with their friends.
    • Happiness, a lack of anxiety, deliberate bliss-seeking.

I hope my list inspires you to give the exercise a try. If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear about your definition of success.


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12 thoughts on “I Gave Away My TV & Made My Stories Free

  1. Hi Erzsie,

    No TV and free stories sounds JUST like you!  You seem to have found YOUR pathway to success and happiness.  That’s quite an achievement, you know!




  2. Aniko, you sound so happy! And that’s wonderful, because I really think that’s the way we should approach writing. Not as a chore, but as the most glorious and exciting thing imaginable. I truly hope that you achieve success as you define it, and that it brings you even greater happiness. And if there’s anything that I can do to help, don’t hesitate to ask!


    • I am happier than I’ve ever been, I walk around smiling everywhere. I’m glad it’s evident in my words as well as when I’m walking to work, grinning so much that strangers comment on my smile. It feels good to stop worrying about all of the things that never mattered to me. I hope that everyone, not just writers, can feel this way about something in their life. I may never be a millionaire best seller or a household name, but I wake up excited about writing, and that’s worth more to me than all the riches in the world.

      Thank you for all the support over the years, Mari, you are amazing!



  3. You had a big screen tv? 🙂

    Great post. Been meaning to get over here for awhile. I love the line about cartwheels through that field. What a great way to think about it. Free has worked… well, it seems like it’s working… wonderfully for me with my Free Five. Not that’s it’s converting to HUGE sales on my pay books, but as I’ve dedicated what little free time I have to new writing/editing and pretty much zero marketing, I can only assume those sales are coming from Free Five.

    Now I just need to get that next book done edited and off to an agent I have in mind. Hoping to be done before the end of the school year.

    Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed your posts. Great to see you remembering the passion.



    • I had a 62-inch, 17-speaker television with a sub-woofer. Mr. Aniko and I were great worshipers at the alter of crass commercialism. A series of changes led us to realize, “Cowpies! HOW much time did we spend in the last n-years watching television?” It was a wake-up call for me. A kind of horrible one, but better now than never.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Free Five! It seems reasonable that new sales are generated by the Free Five. That’s really encouraging. I hopped over to your bookshop the other day, because I am planning to set up one for my works. Next year, later this year? I have been visiting all the author-publisher bookshops I can find for hints and ideas and to convince myself it’s not totally crazy to want to set up a shop and sell writing-related things.

      I can’t wait to read your next novel, Paul!! 🙂



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  6. Pingback: The Ups, the Downs, and the In-Betweens | Mari Biella


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