Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Back on the Blog Chain: What is Success?

Cole has a philosophical question for us this round:

How do you define success? Is it getting published, making the New York Times list, or just finishing a novel?

These are all possible ways to define success, but the meaning of success is going to differ from writer to writer, depending on their goals and motivation for writing.

For me, I originally started writing as a way to connect with others and share the things that matter most to me, like my love of science and my enjoyment of stories with ensemble casts. But I've been conditioned to reach for the top honors during my years in school, so at the same time I also daydreamed of winning the highest awards in my genre, like a Nebula or a Hugo. It took me a long time to hone my craft, and there's always something new to learn. In the meantime, I learned more about writing and publishing, and the world of publishing changed. With it changed my definition of success.

While I still celebrate finishing a first draft or indie-publishing a story, I consider it more satisfying than successful, like knocking something off your to-do list at work but knowing you have more projects to work on. It feels more like success to me to make a sale or to get a good review from a reader.

Success also depends on what goals you've set for yourself. I have a daily quota for new words, a publishing goal for this year, and a long-term goal (making a living from my writing) several years away. It's a challenge meeting all of those goals on top of everything else I do, but being successful at each small goal gets me closer to my long-term one.

As for the Hugo, I'm not holding my breath, but I have a feeling we'll eventually see indie-published work being nominated for major awards.

To follow the chain, visit Kate for the first post. Christine normally posts after me, but according to her blog, she may be on a short hiatus. Katrina would then be the next up.

I'm taking the day off from blogging on Wednesday (I have a lot of preparation to do for WisCon and my son's upcoming birthday party, plus I have to finish reviewing the audio version of Twinned Universes), but I'm participating in a cover reveal Thursday and will have the usual science links on Friday.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All those goals mean you have a long-term plan and a set path to follow, which is good.
Where I'm at as an author is already far beyond my expectations and goals. While my books have been successful, my definition is more personal and centers more on others than myself.
Hope you get a lot done tomorrow. And that you achieve your goal of writing full time.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks, Alex. You do seem to be quite a successful author!

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