How do you do it? The concept of what success means is constantly shifting, not just for writers as a collective, but for each of us as individuals. Even when we achieve what we thought we wanted to achieve, there’s no guarantee it will actually make us *feel* successful. There are always others who seem to be doing better or perhaps doing things differently to us, who will make us question whether we’ve made the right decisions or whether we should be on a different path altogether.
So what’s writing success? Perhaps it’s…
- Getting a publisher?
- Getting an agent?
- Owning your writing journey as an indie author?
- Seeing your novel in a book shop?
- Appearing in an Amazon top one hundred chart?
- Receiving lots of 5 star reviews from people you’ve never met?
- Making a decent amount of money from writing?
- Getting an email from a reader to tell you how much they loved your book?
- Making your mum, dad, children or next door neighbour proud?
- Creating a social media presence with followers in their thousands?
Maybe it’s lots of these things or something else entirely. In the last couple of years, between us, the WRs have achieved more of these measures of success than I think we ever really thought possible. But, lately, I’ve been questioning what it is that would make me feel I’ve been successful as a writer and I happened upon a quote that really resonated with me:
‘Success should be measured by how much joy it gives you.’
For my writing life, this is so true. Whilst I’ve ticked a lot of things off the list above, there are several still to achieve. However, I’ve discovered if I approach writing chasing too many of those measures of success, I can rob myself of that joy. I started writing just because I loved it and that’s how I want to measure my success. If my writing gives me joy, then I can’t really ask for more. The rest is all just garnish.
As for my social media presence, that’s probably strongest here, on this blog, with the rest of the WRs. There might be lots of blog awards we could have won with a different approach and there are writing collectives with a higher profile than ours. However, if success really is measured by the amount of joy something brings you, then being part of this blog and, more importantly, this group has also been a resounding success for me.
I’d love to know how other writers measure their success and, whatever form that takes for you, I wish you lots of it.