Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Measuring Success

So you want to be a writer? I have a question for you. How do you measure your own success?

For many of us I'm sure that getting published is the ultimate goal, but is it the only form of success? Is someone else giving credit to your work, putting money where their mouth is to publish your work the only way to prove your success?

For people like me, the answer would be yes. I have no self belief in my writing ability, so when i get a compliment, i just don't believe it. I believe that people tell me what i want to hear. I'm paranoid that way, but that's just me.

The chance that any of us wannabe writers getting published is slim, so if like me it's the only way to prove your writing is worth something, then we are doomed to think ourselves as failures.

I remember when i used to write for fun, because i enjoyed creating characters and making them interact, when the thought of being published was a distant dream. Now i know that i want to be a published author, i have found the thought of writing quite crippling. Fear of failure scares the hell out of me.

I need to refocus. See individual achievements for what they are, stop focusing on the bigger picture, stop putting so much pressure on myself. Whether it's getting published or not, writing a novel is still a huge personal achievement. Completing a chapter is an achievement, it means you're one step closer to the finished product. And even if we only manage 500 words before crawling into bed, it's still an achievement because it's 500 words we would otherwise not have written.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to start focusing on the smaller things. I'm going to celebrate my smaller achievements, take pride in things i previously would have passed over. And if someone tells me they like what i write, I'm going to try really hard to believe them. Because, realistically, even if they are telling me what i want to hear, the only person to gain from it would be me.

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