There are many ways to measure success as a writer. It's NaNoWriMo throughout November, and for many a writer success will be measured by word count. Those who hit (or even surpass) the 50,000 word goal will know they have met with success.
For some, it's finishing that first draft.
Others view success as signing with an agent. Or signing publishing contract. Doesn't becoming a published author (which is the correct term for a writer who has published a book length work. Only published book writers are authors. Funny, huh?) mean success? I guess it does.
The funny thing about the world of publishing is that the very moment a writer clears one hurdle she will immediately be confronted by another, larger hurdle. Even multi-published authors face them. It's tempting to believe that with a few books under your belt, you're going to be able to keep writing and keep being published. That could happen, but more often than not, a writer will end up with two books published and then they fade from public eye. Low sales figures on two books is enough to kill a promising writer's career.
I know many writers who say they aren't writing for publication, that they just want to see if they can finish a book. I'm always a bit relived when I hear them say this. Relived for them. The world of publishing is difficult to break into, and it's even harder to remain.
Unless we're certain of our goals, and are able to hold fast to them regardless of our fortunes, this business will crush us.
Writers are tender souls. We tip-toe through the rooms of life trying not to disturb anything so that we might observe the world as it is and then write it all down in story form. We love art for the sake of art.
And deep down inside—in that place we dare not think too much about and certainly don't show to others—we very much believe we can become, if not fabulously famous, at least steady with enough published books to our name that we can create small waves of excitement in the right crowd. But that's not why we write. Heavens no. Absolutely not.
Maybe a little.
I want to be
so I can be
What good is my
when I am
Are you writing for the bliss of art alone? Or does some part of you reach for publication, maybe even becoming a known name? How do you measure your success?