What is success and when can you call yourself a writer? What makes you a successful writer?
Success. What exactly does it mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary success is defined as
1) The accomplishment of an aim; a favorable outcome
2) The attainment of wealth, fame, or position
3) A thing or person that turns out well
I’m sure many people will focus on number two: the attainment of wealth, fame, or position. They will only call somebody successful if he/she accomplishes one of those things or all three of them.
Does that mean if I as a writer have published many books but haven’t become rich and famous I’m not successful? Can I even call myself a writer unless I’ve made tons of money with my writing? I read somewhere about somebody stating unless you’ve written at least a million words you’re not a writer. Somebody else even went as far as saying if you’re not on the New York’s Bestseller list you’re not a writer.
It is my understanding that you can’t become an active member of SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) unless you’ve sold at least three stories that paid you a minimum of $250.00, in other words they won’t acknowledge you as a writer until you’ve done that. I don’t know if they recognize e-publishers as legitimate publisher.
To me that’s all nonsense. I’ve written over a million words, published over twenty books with a respectable publisher. I haven’t become rich or even famous, but I still consider myself a writer. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying anyone who has written a few stories, unpublished or not, is a writer. Perhaps even a successful writer.
Look at number one. It says: The accomplishment of an aim.
Having written and finished just one single story fulfills that rule. If it turned out well you’ve got two out of three. Not bad. You’re a successful writer.
I have no doubt there’ll be plenty of ‘real’ writers who will argue this. How can anyone even think of putting some unsuccessful, unpublished, probably untalented, would-be-writer into the same pot with them? Just such an idea is unthinkable and almost criminal.
What a pompous attitude that is! Unfortunately, we’ve been so brainwashed in our thinking by the establishment that to be successful also means to have made lots of money with an endeavor. And that is a pity. Not everything in this world is about making money. Sure, money is fine and good to have. It is important to one’s happiness, but so is the pursuing and fulfillment of a dream. For some this is writing, to turn thoughts and fantasies into words and stories. To have finished a story is a measure of success. Perhaps only the first part of a success story but still an accomplishment. In my opinion, if you’ve done that you can call yourself a successful writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I am a successful writer.