I keep a calendar/planner book. I know it’s not “techy”. In fact, it may be downright old-fashioned, but there’s a great sense of accomplishment when I pen my “to do” list (with my favorite colorful Sharpies), and then check off each item as it’s finished.
If you ask 100 people to define the word, you’ll most likely get 100 different answers. That being said, if you ask me to define the word 100 times in that many days, you’ll probably also get 100 different answers.
You see, my perception of success is fairly fluid. It has to be…or I’m not sure I could survive. Writing is…well, hard. The publishing world is subjective. It’s filled with rejection, from industry professionals to booksellers to readers. As with most things in life, there are many variables we can’t control.
So in my humble opinion, sometimes success means simply controlling what we can…and celebrating our little accomplishments along the way. We may wonder if we're making any progress, but as my husband says, falling on your face is still a step forward.
Some days, success can be measured by the act of completing a manuscript. Other days, it’s finding one perfect word. Admittedly, many days it’s being able to forgive myself for accomplishing neither.
Sometimes, it’s sending that completed manuscript out to an agent or editor. Other times, if I receive a rejection (or the dreaded, “no response means no”), it’s managing to eat only one bowl of ice cream instead of wolfing down the entire half gallon.
Some may measure success in literary awards – which are pretty sweet indeed! – but it’s just as important, if not more so, to recognize the family, friends and writer buddies who are there to celebrate with you when you’re up…and support you when you’re down. (For instance, share some ice cream.) Here I am pictured with my bestie, the uber-talented Kimberly Sabatini upon the birth of her fantastic book, TOUCHING THE SURFACE. (I'm like a proud auntie!)
And while I wish I was independently wealthy and could write just because I love it and want to make the world a better place, there comes a time when one must consider finances. After all, writing is a business. So…on the days that I’m out of ice cream, need to pay for a conference or realize how much we still owe on our home and college loans, success means earning royalties and/or securing author visits.
(Full disclosure? We don’t really have control over earnings or even booking events…try as we may.)
But oh, those visits! This is where I get to meet, interact and connect with my readers. They fill my heart to overflowing with their smiles, energy, inspiration and hugs.
What is it they say? A picture is worth a thousand words:
How can this not be the very definition of success?
Oh, look! “Upload YAOTL blog” is on my list. * grabs purple Sharpie* Check!