Thursday, June 10, 2010

Success and How to Measure it

The definition of success:

Each person has their own idea of what equals great success.

I think it's a good idea to evaluate what your personal meaning of success is so that you know when you've reached it. Do you think I'm nuts? Think about it. We assess what kinds of goals we want to reach each year; why wouldn't we evaluate our ever changing thoughts and definitions of success. There are so many levels.

In writing, specifically, there are levels of success. For me, writing a completed novel this past November without abandoning it mid-way constituted success. It was when I felt able to call myself a writer.

Each step accomplished is a success for me because I am an instant gratification type of person. If I can't do it perfectly the first time, or shortly thereafter, I quit. It's horrible, I know....but sometimes you have to own your flaws. Due to my nature, I celebrate each small step as a success. I'm not going to hang myself out to dry and say that I'm only a success when I've hit the NY Times Best Seller list. That could take a very, very long time and with me being so impatient......I would set myself up for failure, rather than success.

However, I know others who operate in the exact opposite fashion. They will tell themselves they are nothing until published. That drives them to work harder, learn more, write faster and better and there they go-published before you know it! I'm just not that person. (I so wish I was.)

Have you ever considered what will make you feel successful in your writing? Are you honest and realistic with yourself about what you consider success to be?


  1. My idea of success in writing is anything I've done that doesn't have "AWKWARD" or "NEEDS WORK" scrawled across the page in red penned teacher letters. :)

  2. So true. Success is how you define it, it cannot be absolute.
    I would define success in writing pretty much as you would.

  3. I define success at different stages. My first was to actually finish something. Then it was to get something published. Then it was get something published that I actually got paid for. Now that I've accomplished these, it's changed again. Get somethign ELSE published that I get paid MORE for. Finish the NOVEl rather than the SHORT STORY. I'm sure eventually it will be Get an Agent/Editor and Sell my book... and ultimately, be able to support myself on my writing alone. :)

  4. I'm so like you! When I first got married my husband and I were drinking champagne every weekend: celebrate the first week! celebrate the new job! celebrate getting a new kitchen table! celebrate paying the first joint electric bill!! Everything was worth celebrating.

    I think the agent-hunting process squelched a lot of that out of me. I celebrated at first until I felt like every step forward was just a prolonging of the inevitable rejection.

    I'm working my way back into the celebration mode. I don't drink champagne or anything, but every time I figure out a plot point, get another chink of my character, add another chapter... I let myself do a little happy dance, even if only in my head.

    Celebrating even the little things is good.


Your spotlight on R.A.W. :0) I strive to respond if you have your email address attached!