#ThursdayThoughts: What IS Success?

 

Many writers feel that touching even one life is success.  Not by how many books one published, or by how many awards one garnered; although these are VERY nice to have.

For some writers, writing goes much deeper than any physical items or accolades.   It’s about using their gifts as storytellers,  healers, change-makers for the sake of others.

Success is based on the number of lives impacted.

What about you?  How do you view success as a writer?

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Redefining Success

When you think of the word “success,”  what words or images come to your mind?

I envisioned a successful person as one who has climbed the corporate ladder and landed an executive position; or a writer who has her work published in a well-known literary journal.

Is this the kind of success I want for myself?  This is what the world wants me to believe, and by accepting this stance, I’m a complete failure.

Why?

Because I had recently dropped out of the working world to be a full-time parent (as well as for health reasons).  And, because I’ve only been able to have my writings published in anything by literary journals.

So, do these all mean that I am a total reject as a person and as a writer?

No, I don’t believe so.  And I refuse to believe that!

I’m currently participating in a writing retreat called Retreat for the Writer’s Soul

Retreat for the Writer's Soul

Yesterday we worked on redefining the word success by writing a poem after Ralph Emerson’s version of success.  Here’s Emerson’s:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Here was my response and poem:

Wow…this task was an eye-opening experience for me. I adopted some of Emerson’s views of success as they spoke true for me.

To laugh often and much

To discover new kindred spirits and establish deep connection with fellow peers

To continuously adapt to changes no matter how difficult and accept my disabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses

To appreciate the simplicity of life; to find the best in others;

To accept people for who they are no matter how different they may be or what kind of a past they had

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived (love this one!)

This is to have succeeded
In the past, I’ve always considered being successful as to having a career where you’ve been promoted to high positions, or earned higher income each year. Or, in the writing world, having published in high profiled magazines/ezines/journals (namely the literary kinds). When I recently left the work force to stay home full time as a mom because I could no longer hold a full time job due to my failing eyesight, I felt like a complete failure. But, by doing this task, this feeling has changed. Thank you! I don’t feel quite so terrible now! 🙂

Now, it is your turn!

Why You’re Not A Successful Writer (Yet)

Note: I posted this on my other blog, Artistic Crossroads on 2/5/14.  Enjoy!

 

There are many writers out there who are feeling discouraged.  Why can’t their work be recognized by others?  No one’s buying or reading; or, they have only a few buyers/readers.  Rejection after rejection keeps hitting the email box.  What are they doing wrong?  What aren’t they doing right?

Realistically, you can’t (although it does happen) expect fame/stardom over-night or instant recognition for a work well-done.  Like Rowling or King, success didn’t just come.  It took several years.  Hundreds of rejections.  Eventually, it came to pass.  For these two, they made millions (both in dollars and in fans); but for the rest of us, success comes in various sizes.

So, why aren’t you successful?   Hmm…success means different things to each writer.  It could mean selling 1,000 copies of your memoir.  It could mean earning more than $3,000 each month through various copywriting projects.  For another, it could mean having thousands of followers/subscribers on a blog.

Here are some general reasons that I’ve come up with (feel free to add your input!):

1. Your craft/niche may not be developed enough. Write. Write.  And, then write some more. Learn what your weaknesses and strengths are, and how to play them up or down.  Find your voice.  This will set you a-part from the others.

2. People may not know you’re out there.  Start a blog and write about the things you’re passionate about.  Check out other writers’ blogs and web sites, and comment on their posts/articles.  Many of them will return the favor.  Seek out guest blogging and interview opportunities.  In a nutshell, this is called networking.  Marketing.  The more you put yourself out there, the more people will take notice.

3. The world isn’t ready for you (yet).

4. You may need to start at the “bottom” and work your way “up.”   You have a science-fiction novel that you love to have published, but no one and I mean no one is looking at you or your manuscript.  So, you really enjoy writing science fiction.  Try writing a few short stories in this genre, and then find small magazines/ezines to publish them. Get your name out there with a few minor publishing credits.  This will help improve your credibility as a serious writer.

I’m sure there are many other reasons, but these are probably some of the major ones.