Mark Terry

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What's Your Definition of Writing Success?

October 8, 2009
Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her post on The Freelance Survivor's Guide today, discussing success, primarily focusing on definitions.

Which definitely begs the question, what's your definition of success? Is it getting published? Making a living as a novelist? As a writer? Getting a good review? Making a fortune? Having a movie made from your book? Winning the Pulitzer? The Nobel? The Edgar? The Thriller?

I fall back on my "Success is a journey, not a destination" slogan that everbody's probably sick of hearing about, but I know I'm happier if I view every success (and failure) as part of a process and continuum than as a distinct destination (or lack thereof).



Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I do focus on process, but six years into this writing gig, I've had a four month dry spell and I'm really wanting to sell something. So it's tough to feel successful.

I don't expect to live on what I make as a writer, but I do want to contribute to our family expenses. So there's that, too.

Sigh. Guess I'll go write. :)

7:23 AM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

Answering from the perspective of free lance novel writing (I don't know what success is in other arenas) success is getting a novel published by a legitimate house.

That's the line between unsuccessful and successful (ask anyone on the wrong side of the line). Everything else is a matter of scale.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

To me success would be having a book published by a large NY publisher such that you could go into any bookstore and find it on the shelves.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Keeping in mind, of course, that I ran across one of your guys' paperbacks when I was at a bookstore at downtown Disney a number of years back. (I understand that paperback publisher is defunct, as is the bookstore at Disney World, although not entirely. I was there in April and it's Geffen, I think, and now the book section could fit in a magic tea cup, while the rest is all music and primarily movies).

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Your spotting the paperback in the Disney shop was definitely one of my all-time writing highlights. I'm not kidding. That was extremely cool.

That whole iBooks thing didn't turn out well for Poisoned Pen Press. They did some other books with them too and we were told no one made anything, including the press. I suspect they lost money. Shortly afterwards Byron Preiss, the iBooks publisher/founder (I think) died in an automobile accident.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

For awhile, I thought that having my name in Borders would be cool. I did that. It was cool for a day. I know if I sell to a NY pub, I'm not going to be that excited. I mean, thrilled, sure, but I already feel published. I don't mean to set myself up in a bad mental situation, but just knowing me, I will never feel "success."

But when I can afford health insurance on my writing income, that might come pretty close, LOL.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I'm with Stephen. I can say I've done it. More than a few times.

I'm pretty content. I would be delighted if I had a megahit that let me work a little less and not have to supplement with freelance writing. But you know . . . overall, writing has been a good gig.

And measuring by things I can't really measure . . . I have worked from home for 15 years. What that has meant is BEING here when many of my friends have had to make hard choices about daycare and so on.


3:30 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I try to never completely get into a funk (not always successful) about all the little things by reminding myself that, as a matter of fact, I'm self-employed and working out of my house, and for me, that trumps everything else.

5:11 AM  

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