Defining Success

Recently on Writers Digest (WD), one of their contributing writers asked the question, “How do you as a writer define success?”.  There was an opportunity to comment and get a chance to be featured on that article.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out to have the opportunity to post my reply.  (I tried repeatedly over a span of a few days and the WD website gave me error messages).

The point is, I think it’s a valid-enough question that it merited a response here on my blog and that brings me to today’s topic: success for writers.

True success should not be measured by the trappings we (writers) associate with success: the book deal, the positive review, the bestselling lists, etc. Success, by its traditional definition, implies that we have reached the pinnacle of our profession, that there is nowhere else to go. This is a fallacy.

A writer’s life, by its nature, means that there will always be a higher standard to achieve before we reach what we consider to be “success”. Therefore success should not be defined by the ever-shifting targets but by another way.

You write (I hope!) because it is your dream to be a writer. You write because you have been given a gift, whether you choose to believe it came from a Divine Creator (or not). You write because you must. Of course there are perks along the way: seeing your name in print is a pleasure, hearing from readers, a privilege. Beyond this, aren’t most of the accolades just transient anyway?

So, you wake up in the morning and life invariably throws a million and a half challenges at you to prevent you from writing. Some days you make it, some days no. But you live for the days that you succeed and have written something. Why you ask? Because, today you have written. Today you lived the dream, and that, my friend, makes you a success.

Original Article: What Defines Writing Success? by Brian Klem

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