Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: We each have our own definition of “success.” What is yours? What would make you feel successful?
Jamie Wallace: When I think about “success,” I think about it in professional and financial terms. I do a good deal of writing today that I find fulfilling, but which only partially meets my professional or financial needs. So, to me, success is being able to make a good enough living from my writing that I can focus 100% on my writing. It’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it? Well, no one said my answer had to be do-able or make sense! I guess what I mean to say is this – I don’t need the call from Oprah or a national tour hitting all the morning talk shows. I don’t need to be rolling in dollars, pounds, and Gringott’s gold. I just want to be able to earn enough from my work so that I can continue to dedicate myself to that work … without having to be distracted by (or burned out by) any other work.
Susan Nye: Three things spring to mind:
1. Delighting readers and making them smile.
2. Continued joy in writing. Every day.
3. Making 100% of a decent living with my writing.
Julie Hennrikus: I feel like I’ve had measures of success already. I’ve finished work. I’ve gotten better at my craft. I’ve had a couple of stories published. I write on this blog. All successes. And it is so important to acknowledge them. But my dream? Holding a paperback (one of a series) in my hand. I know all about traditional publishing challenges, and about the numbers, and how tough it is. I work with theater artists, most of whom need to have portfolio careers with a variety of jobs to make a living. I am willing to live a portfolio life. But my next step in success is publishing a book. And then I will redefine what success means.
Lisa J. Jackson: Success to me is creating the life that feels right to me, and in that I feel quite satisfied. I’ve been freelancing for almost 7 years now and haven’t regretted a moment of leaving the cubical life. I love the freedom of creating my own schedule and writing and submitting what inspires me. Success to me is also finding and trying new things to challenge myself and for that I surround myself with people who inspire me to reach just a bit further. When I can make someone smile or give them inspiration or information they didn’t have before, that’s success.
Deborah Lee Luskin: To everything Lisa said above, I would add: writing the truth, regardless of how dark, unconventional, unpopular, as long as it’s real. In addition to educating, explaining and entertaining, a writer has a special function in the world, to hold up a mirror, so that readers see themselves and the world differently after putting down my book.