I’ve talked at here length about my need as an author to find a sustainable definition of success, one that could carry me through exciting times and lean times, one that didn’t rely on externals to find my satisfaction or worth. If you’d like to read through those earlier ideas, find posts on success I’ve collected over the years, or see a number of definitions from my writing friends, be sure to click through.
Success Is Like a Snowflake, Too
How to Define Success as a Writer
Cheryl Strayed on Success
Authors Weigh In on Personal Success
Success means meeting the goals I set for myself.
Success is making something beautiful when there’s no one to see it but you.
Recently, I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet and came across a quote that fits right in:
What matters is the book itself. If it is as good a book as you can write at this moment in time, that is what counts. Success is pleasant; of course you want it; but it isn’t what makes you write.
This is very similar to the definition I came up with for myself:
If I am proud of my work and my editor is proud of my work, this is enough. Reviews, sales, or awards (or the lack of these things) do not equate a book’s worth.
Have you created a sustainable definition of success for your work? I’d love if you’d share below.
Joanne R. Fritz says
Success? Just being alive right now is a success to me.
Between 2005 (my first brain aneurysm rupture) and 2017 (my second rupture) I managed to write five novels for children or teens. None of them are published, so most people would think of me as not successful at all. But managing to write and revise the manuscripts despite my illness is a success to my way of thinking. And yes, I probably should have sent out more than a few dozen queries each time, but submitting is its own form of stress. And stress is the last thing I need.
So the definition of success is going to be a lot different for every writer, published or not. I’ll miss you on Facebook, Caroline, but I’ll try to visit here from time to time. Best of luck to you!
YOU are a success (and a wonder), Joanne. I so admire you. Glad our paths might cross here if not on Facebook. All best to you!