Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Defines Success as an Author?

"That's what you have to do to be successful." Someone told a friend of mine the other day.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry at the insanity of the situation.

If you asked me three years ago what makes a successful author I would've said it depended on how many books you sold, or your notoriety. Anything less than J. K. Rowling status was not success.

Unfortunately, a big part of me still wants to believe that. Like dollar signs are all that matter at the end of the day.

Why? Why must I let myself do that? Why is it that the view from space tells me the only thing that's important are the numbers?

Then again, I didn't name this blog A Writer's Journey for nothing. It was the idea of the journey that pushed me to start blogging. It's the journey that's pulled at my heartstrings and brought me low and lifted me back up again.

It wasn't money that change my life, it was the journey. It is the journey.

I don't know how I'm going to feel if and when I ever get a paycheck, but right now I'm thinking it's going to feel a lot like working out at the gym to lose weight, then someone paying me on top of it. Even if I wasn't getting paid I would still workout because it benefits me.

Guess what I realized today after someone else told me the formula to success? I'm already successful.

Crazy, because this whole time I've been going about thinking endless five star reviews and ten thousand copies meant success. But I had to ask myself, if those things never happened to me, would I consider myself a failure? No. I've already grown so much as person. That's not failing.

Plus, I've learned something else that's insane about this journey, I've learned that I'm not a quitter.

Until about two years ago, I really thought I was a quitter. I never finished anything I started. Then I found writing. I found passion in life. It hit me one day that there was no end, that even being published wasn't the end. That no matter what, I was going to continue on this journey until I die.

There's my answer. It might not be the answer to people outside looking in. They might see that I have yet to make a sale, and they might judge that. I have to push those critics out of my head and focus on why I started writing in the first place. That won't be the end of the judgement either because I'm certain I'm going to continue to push those critics out of my head even if they're the people who hand me a paycheck.

What defines success for me? Courage, strength, and the ability to push forward and keep learning. If I accomplish that, then my life won't be wasted, no matter how much money I've made.

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