Jan 9, 2012

How Do You Spell Success?

By Tracy Astle

In my cheerleader days we had a simple cheer that went, "S-U-C-C-E-S-S, That's the way we spell success." With cheers like that, you can see why I did so well in english classes. My spelling was impeccable.

While we all know there's only one way to correctly spell success, there are many ways to define it. Over in the ANWA critique and social groups there are always several success stories going around: articles published, sales milestones, publishing deals signed, award nominations, etc.. This is one gifted group to which we belong.

Sometimes when we hear of the success of others it can cause us to think maybe we should have the same goal as someone else. I mean, we're writers. Shouldn't we all want to have a book on a big time best-seller list somewhere? If we did, that's when we'd know we are successful writers, right?

Well, no.

In ANWA we probably have almost as many different definitions of what it means to be a successful writer as we have members and it's very important that we know for sure what success means to us personally. That way we can easily celebrate each others successes without becoming discouraged or feeling like we're less of a writer if we didn't participate in NaNoWriMo or if we couldn't care less if we're ever published or whatever. We all need to have our own measuring stick for success.

Personally, I wouldn't mind hitting a best-seller list, but at this point that's not my definition of success. I'm aiming for publication of a novel, even on a small scale.

So, I'm curious. What's your definition and has it changed through the years?  


  1. I definitely think it's important to pay attention to the small steps in our lives. We'll always see someone selling more books, getting better ratings, etc. but if we just look at our own growth--only comparing to ourselves--we'll be amazed at our own "success".

  2. I'm trying very hard not to compare my successes with anybody else's. That being said . . . I can't help but being the tiniest bit green when I see one of our ANWA sisters signing her first contract, or reading another book review. Sometimes I get discouraged thinking I'll never achieve my goal of a published novel--until I remember I haven't put forth the effort to query like I should. Whose fault is that? Mine!

    Success for me would be completing my querying process and having one--or all three of my LDS romance manuscripts accepted. I'd be over-the-top happy, and my Doubting Thomas of a husband would have to, at that point, admit that I am a writer. Wouldn't he?

  3. I am happy for others' successes and I hope to one day be published but right now I just want to focus and finish and then submit and keep up that cycle till I really learn the craft. What is that quote? Something about needing to have written a million words before you have really learned to write. I am not up to looking it up just now

  4. Add to that we all write in different genres so we comparing ourselves to one another would be like apples and oranges. I just like to rejoice in the success of us all.

  5. Everyone said it well above!

    Great post. This helps me to refocus today. Thank you.

  6. Now see - this isn't only a very talented group to which we belong, it's a very wise group, too.

    Thanks for the great comments.

  7. this a wise and talented group! I love the support and the learning that is shared. I enjoyed your post. Thank you!


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