Writer Examines Meaning of Success

Good evening! This question was posed at a meeting that I attended once…”How do you know when you are successful?” If I invite one hundred people to complete a survey on this one question – I am convinced that there would be one hundred different answers. Although Webster defines success as, “1 a favorable result 2 the gaining of wealth, fame, etc.” – I strongly believe that this is one of those words that can be defined on an  individual basis, rather than a generalized definition. Success is driven by internal experiences and instincts. As a writer, we each have our benchmarks for success – there is a popular one that we are all familiar with — that a writer may not feel successful until they have sold over twenty-five-thousand books to earn the prestigious label of “Best-Selling Author”.  There must be small successes before reaching this level to keep writers motivated to achieve such a pinnacle in our industry. NANOWRIMO allows participants to feel some level of success at many stages of this monthly journey for thousands of writers – – at the beginning, for having the courage to start a novel – from scratch; after reaching 1667 words each day; after reaching the middle of the month and learning that you made it halfway to the finish line; and again, after calculating your 50,000 words to earn your WINNER certificate! Small successes give us the confidence to keep moving toward our  larger goals. My answer to this question is – I know I am successful when I achieve a goal- be it small or large – I reward small successes just the same as when I reach the larger ones!  How do you know when you are successful?


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