Recently I came upon this bit of wisdom:
“Everyone has their own reasons for writing and their own definitions of success. I think it’s really important to figure out what those are for YOU as you move into the future. It’s the only way to pick your path. ~ Brenda Hiatt, bestselling author
Brenda Hiatt’s words struck me because I am at the point of finding my writing path forward. Some famous person has said that life has to be lived looking forward but can only be understood looking backward.
I began writing when very young, elementary school into high-school, and back then I possessed a vision of a writer as a VSP: Very Special Person. I rather had the idea that a writer was likely born one. I thought so much of writers that I did not believe that I, as ordinary as I was, and from my, shall we say, poor and chaotic family could possibly be a writer.
Yet something within me wanted so badly to be a writer of the sort who wrote all the books that I loved to read. I thought them terribly clever and certainly wise, and I dared to believe that possibly I could work very hard and become one. Thus in the beginning my reason for writing was to become a writer. I definitely enjoyed having written far more than the actual work of writing.
I can look back now and see clearly that during the first fifteen years of my writing career, twenty-some published books and numerous awards, writing nearly every day, I kept wondering when I would feel like a writer. The feeling was my measure of success, thus success eluded me.
It is only now that I can say I have achieved that feeling. I know myself as a writer today. It is laughable but knowing myself as a writer has less to do with publishing (not discounting that) and far more to do with being able to look back at myself and see how I am, and have been since childhood, an incessant scribbler. I journal daily. I write books and blog posts and emails and notes and prayers. I even write lengthy Facebook comments.
When I search for my reasons for writing today, I find it is as simple as I have a renewed desire to write. I still have something to say. This is reason enough.
While I do not discount being published as a measure of success, today’s modern publishing opportunities provide me that guarantee. It is a large measure of success that I understand how to get my work into ebook and paper, too!
In the main, I think, success for me now means showing up and doing the work.
I am a little surprised to realize that fact. Where does reader reception, good reviews and earning money factor in?
Those things do factor in to a sense of success, but the actual showing up and doing the work is the only thing within my control. Showing up and doing the work is doing the best I can with what I have. Doing the work is, not to sound lofty, speaking my truth. This, for now, is important for me to know. Show up, do the work. It is my path forward.
No matter what your endeavor, you will find strength in taking a look at your reasons and your definitions of success. When you look at these things, you are finding yourself. And you will likely find yourself far more successful than you had imagined.