When I was around Micah’s age, I was really into this series of writing books called The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. They were amazing books that I have since, sadly, lost. The workbook wasn’t the best thing for me, too structured, but all in all I gleaned a good bit from them, and hope to eventually purchase them again.
I remember reading a particularly important question in the workbook about defining success (It can be read HERE on page 4 (chapter 1). It explains how some of the most fulfilled writers he knows have only achieved a moderate level of success as most people would define success. The reason they were so satisfied was because they set realistic criteria regarding what success meant to them, rather than striving for what others would call “successful”. Meanwhile, a good deal of writers achieve this publicly acclaimed “success” and are still unhappy, because they never determined what success was to them.
I remember filling in the worksheet on what success meant to me, and the memory of this particular point has stuck with me my entire life. Looking back at it (even before I looked it up to link it here), I can still clearly remember the exercise and the answers I gave to them. Honestly, not much has changed.
I would consider myself successful when I’d published, paid off a small house with a yard, had a fence, and a Labrador, and just enough money to support myself.
I’ve made some small amendments, but the general premise is still the same. I will consider myself successful when:
- I’ve published either The Pandora Soul series, or The Secret Life series (with the hopes of eventually publishing both), and have a small following supporting my work.
- I have bought a small house for mom to live in, should anything happen to me. Walk in closet. Pantry. Large kitchen. That’s the criteria. I wouldn’t mind having a house of my very own as well, but trust me when I say if I can buy her a small but nice house, I’ll consider myself successful.
- I hire a maid for each of us. I’m messy and lazy. Deal with it.
- Have food money. Yep. That’s a legit victory point on the list. I’m hungry, okay?
What does it all come down to? I’ll be satisfied when I can support myself and my mother comfortably via my writing. I don’t want to be rich, just fed. I don’t want to have fancy things, just working things. When my writing can support a low-end middle class life, I’ll be perfectly satisfied with my success.
Everyone has different dreams they are shooting for. Everyone wants something different out of their writing. Some want fame. Some want fortune. Some just want to get their creativity out in the world.
So what is it that you want out of your writing? What would make you say “yeah, I’m successful now”? I’d love to see some blogs on it, so I challenge you, the reader, to blog about success on your own terms. If you don’t have a blog, or just don’t have the time for an in-depth answer, feel free to leave me a comment down below with the short version. 🙂