What Does Success as a Writer Look Like - Interview XII with Rachel Preece

Rachel Preece, Munich - Writer

Rachel Preece is a writer based in Munich, Germany. She writes about culture, food and travel, and started her blog, Arts in Munich, six years ago. She works as a copywriter and a local producer for the BBC, and has written for various publications in Europe.

What are your thoughts on fame in writing?

A lot of what I write is just for me – spilling my thoughts onto paper and trying to structure them for my own purposes. But of course, the writing I put out there is, for the most part, writing I’m proud of and want to be recognized for. And I think - if we're being completely honest - almost every writer wants their writing to become famous. We all want recognition for the work we produce. However, writers tend to be introverted people, and I can’t think of many writers who want to be famous themselves – they’d rather let their writing speak for them.

What is your approach to rejection as a site of success?

It’s a tough, but necessary rite of passage for any writer, or anyone in the arts. The best rejections are constructive and thoughtful, but even a simple “it’s not the right fit” is better than no reply at all. I think “don't take it personally” is too glib a response to rejection – writing is always personal, and there’s always a bit of your heart in it.


Any thoughts on income and financial stability and success?

A lot of thoughts! I actually work part-time in advertising to pay the bills. Firstly, I need the routine of going to an office and seeing other people, as writing can be a lonely pursuit, but I also don't want the pressure of having to write to cover my rent.

It’s often difficult to get paid fairly for your work as a writer. I know people who’ve written for broadsheets (and not op ed pieces) and payment wasn’t even mentioned. Sometimes rates differ wildly, and sometimes it’s expected that you’ll be writing for your own exposure, as if that’s a currency in itself. I think writing for online is often seen as quantitative content, and its quality isn’t particularly valued. As such, writers are constanty hustling, and very few people I know can live from writing alone.


How do you define success as a writer?

That’s a very subjective question, and I think every writer has a different idea. For me, there have been certain successes – getting my work published in a book from a publisher and brand I really respected, for example – that keep me inspired, and keep me going.


Do you have role models for success and who are they?

My friend Sasha Gora, a gallerist turned food historian, is always inspiring. She went from working in art galleries and writing freelance articles to doing her PhD in food history, and her passion for art, writing and food is a constant source of inspiration.


Which advice on success would you give your 18-year-old self?

Stay curious and keep reading. I’m at my most productive when I read a lot, and literature does wonders for my wellbeing.