Monday, February 28, 2011

The Measure of Success

Anyone else noticed the year has strapped on rocket boosters and is screaming past at an alarming speed? Eek. A short post to end February:

What is success?

Success is… when we’ve sold millions of copies of our books and our names are known worldwide.

Success is… when our names are printed larger than the titles of our books.

Success is… when our books are turned into movies.

Success is… when we’ve sold more than five novels.

Success is… when we’ve overcome the second novel syndrome.

Success is… when we’ve sold our first novel without going insane.

Success is… when we’ve completed a finished manuscript and we’re ready to query.

Success is… when we’ve finished the first draft.

Success is… when we’ve come up with an idea worthy enough to turn into a novel.

Success is… when we’ve decided to become writers and first put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard).

Though we won’t all reach every goal, that doesn’t mean we can’t all become successful writers. As long as we keep writing, we’re already successful writers.

Do you have a personal goal you want to reach that will be your measure of success?

note: photo of the dungeon steps at Warwick Castle, England. (couldn't find any other useable pics of ladders or stairs) Such a cool place.


  1. success is having people around you who love you and give you energy even when you're a bad writer or a good writer without public success.

    And I can't believe we've almost reaching the third month!

  2. Hi Lynda,
    I agree with you about how fast this year seems to be going. I thought it was just me.
    Success is...knowing I am doing exactly what I've always wanted to do, even if I never get published. Of course, I hope to do that some day too!
    Right now, I am going over to your other blog to check it out!
    Sharon :)

  3. My definition of success is always changing. Right's to hold a copy of a book I wrote. But I agree that we can be successes even if we fail.

    And I was just thinking the same thing. I can't believe it's almost March.

  4. The year if flying. I can't wait for warm weather but I would like the days to go by a little slower. I would feel really successful if I could quit my day job.

  5. success for me will be getting published to good reviews, to be able to make a living at it, even if it isn't a great living (ha, I'm not making a great living now!). Success means being read, not necessarily being rich.

  6. It really is so interesting how we as humans judge success, and because we are human, one success just launches us into the next desired success. Why is that? Here I am being all philosophical but you started it. Right now success for me will be figuring out how to manage time better to get done all the things I need to do!

  7. The year is flying. I now I'll attain at least some of my goals.As far as success I think Dez has got it right.

  8. I would really love to sell a novel sometime. That would be my measure of success. And yet, if I don't, I guess I'll still be happy if I get my manuscripts up to scratch, so that I'm satisfied with them.

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the year is zooming by! It's crazy!

    Love the list - as long as I'm getting better and learning stuff, I count my writing time as a success :)

  10. I try not to define success using elements I can't control. Yes, I would LOVE to have a novel published, but I can only control a limited amount of whether or not that happens. Agents, editors, and publishing houses have a much larger say. So, for me, finishing my first draft and molding it into a product I'm satisfied with will be how I define success. I never thought I would actually tackle such a project; in many ways, I've already achieved more than I ever expected with writing.

  11. It's good to know others feel the year is flying by way to fast too. Great list and the dungeon steps are neat.

    Thoughts in Progress

  12. This year is zooming by. And it's interesting what success means to different people.

  13. I would have to say if I haven't lost my mind by the time I have accomplished some of the goals I have then I have been very successful. :)

  14. Success in terms of my writing would be having my name known by most of my countrymen. I'll think about taking on an American best seller list after that. :D

  15. Thanks for a very encouraging post! I think for me, I'll feel successful when I've got a large and successful enough body of published work that I can have a reasonable expectation of my next project getting published.

  16. I love your success's. But there are many others.

    Success is respect from your piers.

    Success is the love from your friends and family.

    Success is feeling comfortable with yourself.

  17. The older I get the faster go the years. Just a fact of life for us all I think.

    Your list are excellent measures of success by the standard of writers. Success somes in many forms and on many levels. I'd love to achieve all or some of those things on your list. Most importantly I want to leave a legacy to my children that I was a successful father and to be recognized by my wife, family, and friends that I have been a success as a husband and person in general.
    Success is sweet.

    Tossing It Out

  18. Dezzy-baby-hun, I'm never a bad writer... cough.

    Sharon, yes! I LOVE your idea of success. Love it!

    JEFritz, success is a changeable thing.

    Susan, I'm looking forward to cold weather ;)

    mshatch, to make a living at writing...that would be nice!

    Karen, aah, when you've worked out how to manage time, let me know ok? ;)

  19. Mary, he did indeed :)

    Trisha, yep, being satisfied with my manuscript would be awesome right now ;)

    Jemi, yes, I like to never stop learning.

    Paul, awesome! It's good to be able to say that.

    Mason, hehe, they were so narrow and steep too (I don't think the pic shows that)

    Lauri, it is

  20. Regina, hehe, the mind losing thing is a trick one to tackle ;)

    J L Campbell, good goals :)

    Susan, oh yes, that would be nice

    Michael, so very true

    Lee, I must be ancient then because the days are flying by so fast I think I'd miss a few if I blinked. Leaving a legacy is a good measure of success. I think you've already done that (without the leaving part)

  21. I can't believe I went to Warwick castle and never went down the dungeon!
    It is just about the best castle I have been to!

  22. Great steps of success!! We can all aim for one of these or all! Yay, thank you!!

    I think I get the greatest buzz when complete strangers like my story!! That's when I know I can sort of write something good!

    Warwick Castle is fab!!!!

    Take care

  23. Nice post. Success for me would be getting emails from readers saying they'd enjoyed my book :)

  24. Very happy-buzz thoughts! I'm feeling the one on being ready to query. Movies and big fonts for my name are not on my list, but I'm pretty low key - I would get a real buzz out of learning some kid in Bolivia read my book :-)

  25. Success is enjoying all parts of the journey.

  26. I definitely have goals, but I keep them attainable (with a little bit of dreaming worked it for flavor). My goals for 2011 include finishing two new WIPs, honing my craft, and continuing to meet cool bloggers!

  27. My gosh, yes this year is buzzing by! Too fast! I have goals, but I don't allow the dreams of success (like movies and big deals, and best seller lists) to cloud the goals. Just take baby steps toward the big dreams.

  28. Success is just being able to do what I love and share it with the people who matter and care.

    Yes. The year is flying by at a scary speed!

    Ellie Garratt

  29. Super photo! Love it. Very nice that you started at the "top" of the list and worked down. Yes, all those things are measures of success, even just writing that novel, because a lot of people just dream and never put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. If you don't try, you can't succeed!

  30. Lynda, you've been on a tear lately. You've been posting some of the most inspiring stuff on the blogosphere. Makes me come back in haste.

  31. Everyone has they're own idea of success and the means to get there.

    For me, success is to always be sharing my work with the public no matter what else is happening in my life.


  32. Success is people willing to help you out with their time and great minds.

    Hope to add to my 'published' list this year. Can't believe it's March already.

  33. Time is not equal it lurches in waves. Sitting in a doctors office is proof - 15 minutes seems like 3 hours. Grin.

    Well - I finished a few books that my kids adore - they reference lessons they learned from reading them in their own lives. The first time one of them said "It's just like Natalie said in your book Mom...." I was a rockstar - anymore- that does or does not happen is just Frosting.
    My 'Blue Apple' has already happened. Nothing else will ever give that moment any competition.

  34. I'd have to say, just continually moving forward as a writer, growing and learning more about the craft. Getting the agent who's right for me is my main goal, this year. I got so close last year. I'm also branching out with my writing, freelancing and exploring different genres.

  35. I guess every personal rejection is a small success. I'm ready to move to the next level in my success list order.

  36. great and beautiful meanings of the word ..success, i feel d same way,

  37. really inspiring post! I like how it doesn't have to be every goal- but can be successful even if we reach one. thanks for posting!

  38. Success is all of that! Love it. And, for me lately, success is getting out of bed and taking a shower. LOL =D

  39. Well... I'll be feeling plenty successful if I finish my rewrite before my goal.

    Maybe. I said that I'd feel good with the completion of the first draft.

    Uhm... Not so much.


  40. Al, the dungeon is the best part!

    Old Kitty, that's one of the best buzzes :)

    Girl Friday, that would be nice :)

    Charmaine, I'd agree

    Bish, true

    Jess, attainable goals is a good idea

    Colene, good plan

    Ellie, for sure. That gives us the most satisfaction I think.

  41. Carol, that's so true. It's one thing to dream, another to do something about it.

    Ben, thanks so much :)

    Jai, that's a good emasure of success

    M Pax, I'd be surprised if you didn't add to your published list this year :)

    HowLynnTime, being a 'rockstar' is the best

  42. salarsen, brilliant goals. Good luck with your agent search.

    Sharon, I like your thinking :)

    Fire, thanks

    Summer, if we are working towards our dreams, it's a success :)

    RaShelle, hahaha yep, I hear you on that one

    Misha, lol.

  43. FANTASTIC post. This is so true. Success varies from writer to writer/person to person, so why should we judge ourselves by someone else's standards?

  44. "Success is… when our names are printed larger than the titles of our books."

    Haha, I hadn't thought of that one!

    I suppose your goals change as you manage to reach each one. It kinda sucked for me that I missed my first draft completion deadline by about 5 months (so many!) so it will be success for me when I've written the final word on that first draft ever :-)


I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.