“I want to be a success.” This was the answer I got when I asked a friend what he wanted from the words he was creating. His reply did little to answer my question because his definition of success and my definition might not be the same.
Have you defined success?
I have mentioned before that if you do not define your own success – the terms that you deem valuable and important – then the world will define success for you (and you will usually be left out in the cold). The world option might look nice, but it rarely makes sense for your unique place. You need to take the steps to define success.
Define Success as a Writer
Commercial success – break this down into specific books amount (the number of books you want to sell in a week, a month or a year). Keep in mind that many publishing companies now consider a book that sells just 2,000 books a “success.” Would that number be enough for you to be content in your books sales? Calculate the number of books you need to get in the hands of your readers before you have reached the mark of success that you desire.
Financial success – “I just want to earn a living wage.” I have made this cry myself. Many writers that are looking for success want that success to be revealed in a paycheck. How much does your check need to be before you are a success by your definition? Calculate the amount of money you need to be bringing in. Keep in mind that the person supporting a family alone will likely have a different number in mind than the one bringing in a second income for the family or the one that is single and supporting an individual household. This will require investing the time necessary to develop a budget.
Prestigious success – I sat in the church behind a woman for three months. One day she turned around and introduced herself. When I told her my name, she said, “Are you THE Kathryn Lang? I read your column have been trying to find a way to get in touch with you to see if you would come speak one week.” My prestigious success was way low at that time because the women sitting in front of me had no idea who I was. Do you want people to know who you are and what you do? Do you want them to invite you to speak about certain topics? Some writers are content to have the commercial and financial success without achieving ANY prestigious success. Other writers crave being known. You need to determine your finish line or you will continue to run even after you have crossed.
Spiritual success – “I want to touch lives with my words.” I often have the opportunity to visit with Christian authors and this sentiment seems to be one of the most popular. Although some say it because it might be considered unchristian to focus on commercial, financial, or prestigious success, there are those that really have nothing but a heart for Christ as their driving force. I confess that I believe when that force is first the rest have a way of following. Do you desire to do what you are doing because you believe you are designed by God for this place in His purpose? Doing what you are designed to do may be all the reward that you need.
Your unique reasons for crafting your words will be what drive you in sharing those words. Have you taken the time to define success? Start now and discover how a simple definition will make all the difference in the journey.