Sunday, July 13, 2008

What is Success?

What is success? Is it making lots and lots of money? Is it name recognition? Is it being able to live comfortably or even have a lavish lifestyle? For us writers, is it getting a story published for the first time or the thousandth time? Is it a book deal that makes you a good bit of money? What is it?

Define success?

In some respects it is defined as the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted (American Heritage Dictionary). But, is that really a good definition of the word?

I don’t know.

If you ask Stephen King or Gary Braunbeck or Brian Keene if they were successful, what do you think they would say? Well, I think they would say yes, they are. But, what if you asked that same question to someone who only has a handful of publishing credits under their belt? What do you think they would say? Most of them would say no or not yet or I’m getting there or something to that effect.

So, I ask you, what is your definition of success?

Do you want to know mine? First off, I would love to make a living writing. I would. I really, really would. But, if that doesn’t happen, would I consider myself a failure? Not even close. Have any of you seen my wife? She’s beautiful. How about my kids? They’re attractive and smart. My son is a pistol and my daughter is darn near brilliant sometimes. I’m successful already.

I know, I know, I’m stretching what this is all about, but it is important to understand what success really is. Sometimes success isn’t about the dollar sign or how many cars you drive or how big a house you have. Sometimes success isn’t measured by your name and how many people who know who you are. Honestly, right now, how about a show of hands from those who know who I am. Not a lot of you, I see.

I have a firm belief that if you believe that you can do something then you can do it. It may take you a little longer to learn how to do these things, but eventually, you will be able to do them.

For me there is a certain amount of satisfaction when I see improvement in my writing. It may not be something that leaps out at someone, but it is something I notice. And, when I notice the change, I feel like there is a touch of success in that—all the attempts at correcting a flaw or learning how to do something finally coming to fruition. To me, that is a type of success.

I measure success on how satisfied I am with the outcome. If I feel I have done everything to my ability and it still doesn’t work, well, it’s time for me to start over on that and try again. There is a measure of satisfaction in trying and trying again until you get it right. After that, it usually stays right.

I also gain a lot of pleasure from writing a story. Pleasure. Did you read that word? Read it again. Pleasure. I write a lot—sometimes too much, but I love doing it. It is my addiction and not one that I am willing to kick. When I write something that is good and I know it is good, then the pleasure is amplified and that leads to satisfaction of a job well done. Which, hopefully, will lead to getting paid for the stories on a regular basis.

But, if this life of writing never makes me successful money or name wise, then I will always have the pleasure of creating a story, enjoying the ability to do so and being successfully happy. That’s what it’s all about anyway, right? Being happy.

I’m AJ and I’m out

1 comment:

  1. AJ - When you get a chance, contact me. I'd like to talk with you about writing. Check my site. I've just posted a golf story I wrote. Let me know what you think.
    Bob House