Rising Above and Finding Success As a Writer: Robert Stanek's Writing Life

I'm Robert Stanek and I run Go Indie / Read Indies as a platform to help other writers. Throughout my life I’ve found myself in extraordinary circumstances. As a child, I loved watching episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors as the bionic man. I loved the spin-off show, The Bionic Woman starring Jaime Sommers, just as much. Both were stories of larger-than-life people in extraordinary circumstances. They were classic television shows, written in the style of the day, and like the classic novels of Verne and Wells and Stevenson they helped me transcend abject poverty, a tragedy-filled youth and the misery of my circumstances.

However difficult that journey from childhood was, it did prepare me for an extraordinary life. A life filled with not just fleeting moments of transcendence but a life filled with sustained stretches of transcendence where I was able to rise above circumstance time and again.

Where I find myself today is a long way from a childhood where “flour and water” pancakes were breakfast and a can of peas was dinner shared by many. A long way from that kid who graduated high school near the top of his class but had no way or means to go to college. A long way from that kid who joined the military to serve his country and make a better life but later found himself in multiple warzones. A long way from that kid who eventually put himself through college while working full time and starting a family but with no idea of what he really wanted to do in this life.

And yet, every turn that seemed wrong eventually became right as I was able to overcome circumstance and rise above--like a phoenix born from the ashes. So much so that now as I look back, it seems I look back upon another’s life, thinking that kid really couldn’t have lived through all that. But that kid did, and that kid is me--all grown up now.

That kid all grown up has had as many difficult turns as ever from encounters with crooked competitors to encounters with just plain crooks. To say that writing is a difficult business is a serious understatement. Any business where some very few make billions and millions is a difficult business. Exacting, harsh, risky--and dare I say at times even hazardous. That is the writing business. As a writer you put yourself out there for the world to see. Though others may try to twist and pervert the lens through which the world sees you, you can rise above--you can succeed. You have only to dare to dream.

And when you dare to dream, measure your success not by the words and thoughts of others but by standards of your own heart and mind. Believe in yourself. You are a success when you know in your heart and mind you are.

For me personally, though I’m in no way bashful about my commitment to the written word and will gladly let you know about the 150+ books I’ve written and the many millions who have read my books, while shouting from the rooftops about the same, success has never been about stacks of books written or millions of books sold. It’s always been about loving what I do and believing in what I do each and every day. That in itself is enough for me to know I am a success. It’s why I get up each and every morning eager to write. It’s why I’ve never had writer’s block. It’s why I’ve been so prolific over a lifetime of writing.


  1. Great encouragement in this post. Thanks, Robert.

  2. Thank you, DeEtte. Glad you found the post encouraging!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

  4. As a new writer still finding her wings, I am drawn to your definition of success, especially the line “measure your success not by the words and thoughts of others but by standards of your own heart and mind”. Thank you for sharing some of the wisdom you've gained from your journey. From a former card-carrying member of the Six Million Dollar Man Club (at age 10) – smile