When does a writer know when he or she is successful?
Being “a writer” has certain connotations and sometimes embedded tangible requirements. Does he make a living from writing? Is her work critically acclaimed? Is he well-known? Does she garner respect from other writers? Do other people ask him to write? Is her author rank on Amazon within the top few thousand? Can a book release produce excitement? Does she have book signings? Has he won awards for his craft? Does she work tirelessly to improve?
Surely, these are all requirements of being a ‘real’ writer.
But, alas, no, that’s not it. It’s much simpler. It’s more personal. It’s more subjective.
Being a writer is about having the confidence within where one feels they know what they are doing but remain wise enough to know how foolish a thought like that is. Despite always wondering if what is written is any good, he or she keeps on writing.
For the first 30+ years of my life, I had the heart of a writer, yet I was not one. I was a person who made excuses about my writing, which mainly never occurred. I focused on my weaknesses and the strengths of the real professional writers. Strangely enough, the gap between my weaknesses as a writer and a highly respected writer’s strength was vast. That’s what I was focusing on, and it made writing seem like an impossible task. There was a gulf of separation too wide, so I figured I might as well not try.
I’m ten years beyond that type of foolish thinking. Do I still have writing weaknesses? Oh yes. I think I’ve even discovered more that I didn’t know existed. But now, I don’t look at the big guys in awe and lament that I will never be like them. I have learned to feel comfortable in my own shoes. I have unique experiences and unique bouts of creativity which are vastly different from others. I have something to say, and that’s enough.
Sure, I like a good review or an award or honor just like the next writer. It certainly can stroke a writer’s ego and boost one’s confidence.
But good reviews or awards or a certain threshold of downloads does not a writer make.
A writer is simply someone bold enough to admit that he or she is one.
Once you can overcome that hurdle, you can be successful, and you can write in peace.