Here in the Tearoom we are all either self-published or aspiring authors. As such, I know we all think about “making it”. I mean, who doesn’t? In whatever field we’re in, whatever job we do, most of us have a dream of success.
I’ll admit to having grand fantasies of going on book tours and meeting adoring fans who’ve connected with my books in some personal way. I would love to sign books with a flourish and smile at the people as I shake hands and give hugs.
But these things don’t happen for many authors, much less self-published ones who are working on their own tiny budget and limited connections.
So what becomes the measure of “success” as an author?
Well, publishing my two books felt pretty good. Knowing that I could call myself a writer to whomever might ask me the question is a continuing point of pride in my life.
But once I started getting feedback from people who were not my friends or family, I just knew I had made it.
Then I got negative feedback from people who were not my family or friends and, though it stung a bit, I knew I had made it.
Then my old high school listed me as a “published author” in the alumni directory. There I sat between my many classmates who are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other successful and well-recognized professions. THEN I knew I had made it.
Then I passed 150 Facebook likes and people I didn’t know began asking me to put out a new book soon because they couldn’t wait to read it. And I knew I had made it.
Then a Twitter friend sent me a picture of my book in her library on the opposite side of the country and I knew I had made it.
But then I sat back and thought, “These are all outward measures of success. And while they are nice, do they really mean I have made it?” And as I pondered this question, I discovered that the true measure of success had been and continues to be that I make myself happy by doing this thing called writing. All the other things are just icing on the delicious, delicious cake.
So what are your measures of success in writing or in life in general? What are your grand plans and your humbler everyday landmarks that help you know you’ve made it in whatever you’re doing?