- The achievement of something desired or attempted.
- Fame or prosperity.
- One that succeeds.
How do we measure success? As a writer, as an editor, as a person?
Are you successful when you sign your first publishing contract? When you get your first advance check? When your book is finally published? When you get a good review? When you get a starred review? When you earn out? When you get that next contract? When you are an award finalist? When you are an award winner?
As an editor, when am I a success? When I sign an author? When that book gets a starred review? When it wins an award? When a book I acquired hits a bestseller list? When I have my own imprint? When NY houses come calling?
Am I successful when I own a new car? A home? When my boys graduate high school and head to college? When I can vacation whenever and wherever I want to? When I can afford to retire when I want to?
I think we all kill ourselves to be successful. We work harder and longer. We take on more responsibilities. We juggle more than we can handle. But does that make us successful? Who decides that?
You do. Did you finish your first novel? That is a success. You set out to do something and you did it. You achieved what you attempted. That manuscript might be in the back of your drawer, never to see the light of day, but that isn’t a failure. Because you made another goal – to write the next one. And you kept at it until you landed an agent or an editor. You got a publishing contract. Even if that book doesn’t earn out or become a best seller, you also reached another goal – being published. Every step of the way is as accomplishment. A success.
I’m not very good at recognizing success in myself. Because I am always comparing. Some days I feel like I am a success. Most days I don’t. We are all a work in progress, right? So let’s make a deal. I will stop beating myself up for doing XY or Z better if you all will start celebrating every success. J