When I was younger I thought that I'd be satisfied just to write a novel, even if no one read it. To know that I followed through on such an ambitious project would be enough for me. So I wrote one. Not surprisingly, my goal changed and so did my definition of success.
Becoming published became my new goal. I fixated on it and even once said that if I was a published author I could die happy. How naive was I to think that I could be satisfied so easily and that I wouldn't change my definition of success once again.
Publication is still one of my goals as I draft my second novel during NaNoWriMo, but what I've come to realize is that there is no "finish line" in writing. I can't fool myself anymore with sentences that start with "If I just..." and end with "...then I can die happy".
Networking with published authors who struggle to market their novels and still don't feel as though they've "made it" has taught me to cast off my illusions about the finish line. I will still have the same insecurities and desire to do better even after my book hits store shelves or online shopping carts. Hence, I'm adopting a new attitude: that doing whatever it is I feel called to do, not just in writing but in life, is all I need in order to die happy.
If I'm content with who I am and where I'm at, whether I'm pre-published, post-published or in between, then I've already "made it". Hmmm. I guess there's a finish line after all.
What about you? How do you measure your success?
(Image from freedigitalphotos.net)