What Does Success Mean To You?

By on November 1, 2017
What Does Success Mean To You? - Writer's Life.org

When it comes to writing success, everyone has a different opinion of what that means. For some, getting a publishing deal is their only aim, and without one they can’t consider themselves to be a successful author. For others, it’s a numbers game and success is very much dependent on how many books they sell or how much profit they make. Other writers believe if they manage to get to the end of their book and see it in print in any form that this is a huge success and one that they should be very proud of

One thing that is important to think about, before you even start writing your book, is what success means to you. Thinking about this carefully helps you to set clear goals for yourself. If you don’t consider what will feel like an achievement or a success when it comes to your writing, you may end up doing what you set out to do, but then feeling disappointed because you don’t actually feel satisfied or proud of what you have done.

Thinking about what success means to you also means that you consider how much work, time and effort you will need to put into getting there. If you aren't satisfied until your book hits number one on the bestseller lists, you better make sure you are willing to do everything in your power to make it so!

If you realise that, realistically, you just aren’t going to have the time, the drive or the resources to do so, perhaps its a good idea to manage your expectations so that you don’t feel disappointed, let down or that it was all a waste of time when you find that you simply aren’t willing to market your book or can’t deal with rejection so never send it off to a publisher.

Writers struggle to define success, and indeed the definition of a successful writer as observed by outsiders varies greatly too. Some people will think you are pretty amazing and impressive by just having had the time, the skill and the dedication to finish your book, however good or bad it might be. Others will sniff at any writer who hasn’t been paid for their work, and will (perhaps rather patronisingly) talk to you as if it is just a cute hobby that you do rather than something you work hard at, are passionate about, and take incredibly seriously.

Some writers also find success hard to define because they always end up wanting more. There is nothing wrong with your definition of success changing as you reach each milestone. This will keep you moving forward, more determined with each step, to achieve even more.

If you aren’t sure what it would take to consider yourself successful, perhaps a good place to start is to ask yourself ‘why do I write?’ Understanding this can expose your motivation for writing. It might be money, it might be fame, power, influence or it might be because you simply love doing it or hope to inspire others with your writing.

It is easy for success to be snatched away from writers without warning. You might feel successful when your first book is published, then profoundly unsuccessful when someone writes you a scathing review or no one wants to publish your second!

There is no denying that whatever your version of it, being successful in any capacity as a writer can be tough. However, the most important thing to remember is that as long as you keep writing and keep trying to achieve your goals, you are on the right path, and you never know, success could be right around the corner!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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