What Is Your Success?

I asked my wife to read some of my work-in-progess the other day (which is a separate blog in-and-of-itself) when she asked me something I hadn’t really thought about.  She asked where I wanted to go with my writing.  I naturally said I just wanted to get published and succeed, then she followed up with What do you mean succeed?

Success means something different to everyone but it can vary wildly with writers.  Some simply want to finish a story with no hope of publication.  Some want to be the next Stephen King or John Grisham and sell millions.  And then others want to create the next great American novel, sales be damned!  Myself I don’t really want any of these things.

I’m not expecting that I will one day be able to depend on writing as my only source of income.  I’m also not under the impression that my writing will change the way stories or told, or go on to win dozens of awards.  My hope is that I will continue to have the ability to write and have those that want to read what I create.  Whether it be my children, a few relatives, a couple dozen followers, hundreds of book readers, or thousands of fans.  I enjoy writing and even more-so I enjoy telling stories.

I look forward to the day that I hold a brand new book in my hands that happens to be my own creation, with my name scrawled on the front and features a picture of my ugly mug on the author bio.  I look forward to the day that someone is waiting to read my next story and picks it up the day it is released.  Simply knowing there are people traveling in the worlds I have created, interacting with the characters that have sprung forth from my demented mind, and enjoying the experience I have crafted for them.  Whether it be one or one thousand, it doesn’t matter much to me.

So basically success to me means continuing to tell stories to those that are interested.  What is your success?



Filed under Writing

31 responses to “What Is Your Success?

  1. As a Writer, I’ve battled with this question a lot. I am very shy, so I’m definitely wanting to always have my quiet life. However, I long to take people into the worlds I create, and curious how the experience affected them. I suppose for the most part, Writer’s don’t have to be worried about being Recognized walking down the street. But still, as being someone who used to miss school on my Birthday because they would announce people’s Birthdays over the Intercom in First Class, I definitely have no interest in being the Center of Attention. I just love to Create and Write however, it is who I am. And I long to take people with me.

    I guess for me Success in regards to Writing is being able to Write and Write and Write, and bring people along with me, but at the same time continue to have my Quiet Life.


    • I feel your pain. I also agree that only the most famous of authors have to worry about being recognized. That is why I love blogging because I can interact with other people but at the same time it is at my comfort level!

  2. I loved this post. Your wife is a wise woman. I think many writers get disenchanted simply because they have never thought to ask themselves this question. It is a great reminder to me so Thank You.

  3. “… People traveling in the worlds I have created …”

    Nicely written. I’ll try not to steal it.

    My definition of success is on the shallow side. And it freely moves about – to avoid wherever I happen to be.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. When my critique group told me that they loved my story but that it would never sell because it was a YA novel told from the boy’s POV I had to redefine my idea of success. Instead of changing the protagonist to a girl and throwing in a vampire I decided to stay true to what I wanted, publishing success be damned. The fact is, if I won 10 million bucks today I’d still write tomorrow.

  5. Anabelle

    Great post… yeah this question is stickly one. For me right now it’s figuring out what I want to do with my life–nothing more.

  6. Hmm that is a tricky one. For me there several levels of success. Being able to say I’m a published writer is one, telling people that I do something I love is another, being able to take a book to the inspiring teachers of my youth and hand them a personalized copy is probably the biggest form of success for me.

    By the way, when are you putting up some samples?

  7. Good question about the samples. I’m not really sure. I am trying to finish the WIP that I want to submit for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, and I might throw a chapter or two of that up once I get the first draft completed. To be honest I fear I might not have it done for this years contest, which opens in January. But I’ll let you know my man!!

  8. The people we love can really get to the heart of our questions, can’t they?

    Success in writing for me is to have my words touch other people’s hearts–to help them to think about their own lives differently, hopefully more positively, because of the way I’ve written about the way I’ve written about my reflections about my life. Whether I do that through my blog or a book or a column in a periodical or a collection of papers my family reads after I die, it matters not.

  9. Your wife makes a great point. We could search for years and years with no avail, if we haven’t defined success. When would we ever be content and happy with what we’ve achieved if we don’t know where it’s going to stop?

    Interesting. I feel like I need to get out a pen and paper – and start identifying what I’ll support as success. Seems to me like a “never ending” thing I try and find in life. Maybe that’s a problem in itself though.

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring my mind!

  10. Very good question and one I had to think about. For me, success is standing in a bookstore (assuming they are still around by the time I get published) and seeing my name on a spine like I imagined as a kid. Success is telling a story that transports someone to another life, giving them a much needed break from reality. Success is also inspiring future writers to strive to tell the story inside them, much like all the countless writers before me have done for me.

    • To inspire other writers, love that one! That is definitely one I will aspire to.
      And while I no longer go to bookstores it would be nice if they’re still around in the future.

  11. Twash

    As a writer, I thought I would feel successful when I was published, then I was, but I didn’t. Then I thought I would feel successful when I got a full time job writing, then I did, but I still didn’t. Now I think it is when I can do it on my own terms. When I can decide what and how I want to write. And when the relationship between my writing and photography becomes clear.

    • That brings up a good point. Can being successful change what we define as success?!? Kind of scary to think about.

      I’m sure my goals will change once I have become published but hopefully I will not lose sight of what I have been able to accomplish.

  12. Marcie Hill

    My ultimate writing goal is never to let people with money, public official and school administrators devalue the craft of writing. Secondly, I want a little red writing school to ensure that this does not happen. Thirdly, I’m looking forward to the day when my my current book is published after ALL the research that’s required. And finally, I’m looking to get paid by telling other people’s stories. That’s a double blessing!

  13. I think again you wrote a great post… You are already a success… think about this…
    You have a super wife… that has encouraged you to think outside the box and push yourself a little further and…
    you number one success to me… is your Mother’s continued legacy… the gift lives in you…. I don’t know what success means to you… but I remember all of the articles I have read that you wrote… does that count? Each one… you shared more and more… thank you.

    • Thanks, this made my day!
      I am very blessed. I agree my mother left a desire in me that I hope I can share with my future children and will help drive me to become published.
      Thanks for continuing to follow along on my bizarre journey. Also thanks for all the times you left nice comments, this wasn’t the first one that has brought a smile to my face 🙂

  14. I feel this. I quantify my success in a different way to what other people might. I woulnd’t get published for money, but for my name in print. I hope to write something that gets studied one day, and anylised on a really deep level =P One day I will be able to call myself an Author rather than just a Writer, though I will never stop being the latter.

  15. success is making it through one day and awaking to another (~_~) my wealth is health and wisdom anything else is a bonus!


  16. What a great question!

    I used to think I wanted to make an impact – that I wanted to change someone’s views on life and death like Alice Sebold or Mitch Albom. But then I began writing gruesome stories of murder and the like, and that dream was squashed. (Unless an actual serial killer reads one of my books some day…which I pray is not the case.)

    And so, with that, my success is similar to your own dream: I want to hold my own novel in my hands some day, or even look at the cover on a Nook or a Kindle (since they seem to be taking over nowadays…which I find a little depressing). I want someone to pre-order my latest book. I want someone to ask me to scribble my sloppy signature on the inside cover, so I can write something inspiring. I just want to entertain.

    Here’s hoping, for both of us!

  17. “Simply knowing there are people traveling in the worlds I have created, interacting with the characters that have sprung forth from my demented mind, and enjoying the experience I have crafted for them. Whether it be one or one thousand, it doesn’t matter much to me.”

    This is a beautiful post. It’s like you’re in my head reading my thoughts. The whole writing process is about sharing. Every story has two composers: the teller and the audience. Finding that second composer, to me, is true success.

  18. To me, success in writing is one step at a time. The first success is writing. The second success is having someone who cares enough to read. Both made possible by the blog. You keep writing and they keep reading and you keep writing and they keep reading and…

  19. northernnarratives

    Dear Future Book Author – I see that you are in the midwest and you may want to check out places such as The Loft Literary Center https://www.loft.org Get info and be smart before you sign any publishing contracts 🙂

  20. Now that is one true passionate writer. You write cause you love to write and your purest intentions is for others to simply enjoy reading your work. That is admirable and noble. Like you I right cause I’m crazy about it and I hope to one day retell them to my grand kids. I just want people to be moved, to feel, to make a difference. I made a post for my dad and he cried. It was then that I knew I had a purpose. Stay blessed and celebrate what you enjoy doing!

  21. kyoske

    I think what I want out of writing, is to write something that speaks to people. While I would love for it to speak to a large audience, I’d be content with it reaching a small one. I want people to not only be entertained by what I write, but to have it cause them to think about their own lives.

    Authors I enjoy the most, are people who seem to have captured a moment where I say “That’s me” or “That’s what I wish I was.” I want to do that.

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