Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Makes a Writer Successful?

I'm willing to bet that if I ask twenty people what makes a writer successful, I'll get twenty answers. For some it's the money: how many copies were sold, how much money did they get, how big was that advance (if at all). You see this reflected a lot in ads proclaiming an author sold 'three million copies sold world-wide'. You also see it in the applications of many writer's organizations. You have to have their idea of success in terms of "professional" sales, which means the money. You have to wonder what percentage of the success there is actually the writer and how much is the marketing/sales departments. If the higher percentage is the writer, it seems a disservice almost to base their success on dollars. True, money is easily measurable where talent is harder to compare.

Other writers define their success based on how much they write a day, how many stories are in submission in relation to those accepted or rejected for publication. Some write for the love of words. Many write because they have something they want to say to the world: a message to get out there; something inspirational or righting a wrong. Some just want to entertain....jokingly say they want to see who can tell the biggest lies or get the biggest laughs. Some write to keep their demons at bay.

Perhaps I'm jaded but I don't see letting anyone but yourself define your success--writer or otherwise. If what you're doing makes you happy and doesn't harm anyone, then it's successful. For me, I love writing and publishing. I've found my place and though I work hard, I'm loving every second of it. To me that's the biggest and best success there is. It wasn't easy getting here and I didn't always make the right choices. It's so very true that when you love what you do, it isn't work at all. That's success!


At 10:20 PM, Blogger Janet Glaser said...

I agree with you 100%.


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