Success Defined

We writers love to use the word “success.” But what does that really mean? Sure, we’d all love a bestseller, an award, a movie deal in the works. Maybe even to be able to support ourselves through writing. But there are other ways to measure success.
Writing Tip for Today: As you define your writing goals for the coming year (Mayan doomsday predictions notwithstanding), let’s look at what success might mean at different stages of a writer’s journey.

  • Climbing that Mountain. I call it a success whenever a student writer makes a breakthrough. If you’re new to writing or still an apprentice (as in you’re still waiting for the first big pub credit) and you somehow broke through to take your writing to the “next level,” you’re a success.
  • Persevering. You’re a success if you’ve received way too many rejections this past year but didn’t give up. If you follow my Rule of Rejection–that of allowing yourself 24 hours in which to moan, whine, complain and feel sorry for yourself, then putting those feelings aside and getting back to work–you are a success. You may feel like the biggest loser when you get yet another “no,” but the only losers in this game are the ones who give up. Hang in there, and you’re ahead of all those giver-uppers.
  • Waiting for the Right Market. Everyone has heard the story of how my debut novel was 15 years in the making. While a lot of writers’ early work is only useful as a doorstop, some work must wait for the market to be receptive. You’re a success if you are able to put aside the story that isn’t quite ripe yet or to rewrite it yet another time. While you wait, get to work on something new or different. Patience may become success for writers who can wait.

In case you still aren’t convinced, say it with me: I am a success! Make it so.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Success Defined

  1. Linda,
    I love your daily blogs. Refreshing.
    Thank you for reframing this past year for me. Made me feel like I went from being a zero to a hero.

    I’m celebrating breakthrough in tighter, relevant writing;getting a first public article published (in the face of many rejections);reworking a nonfiction book to suit my target readership. And the fruit of patience (among others) is growing.

    Thank you for providing practical tips that allow us to connect with our readers. I appreciate you!

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