Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Measure Success in Writing

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How do you measure success in writing? Writing is such a subjective business that it's hard to say.

For some people, finishing a manuscript is a huge milestone. Others don't consider themselves victorious until they've landed on best-seller lists or sold X number of copies. Still others don't call themselves champions until they have X number of books written and distributed.

So what's the answer? At what time can we each be considered successful writers? At which milestone do we cross the threshold that separates 'trying' from 'succeeding'?

The answer is all of them, or perhaps none.

Because writing is so subjective, the only way to gauge success as a writer is by our own, individual goals.

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If your goal is to finish your manuscript in X amount of time, or by a certain month, and you do it, then guess what? You are a successful writer.

If your goal is to write 10 books over 5 years, go for it! Even if you don't quite make your goal, if it takes longer than you hoped or you do well but only get 8 instead of 10 in your time frame, as long as you are progressively moving toward your goals, guess what? You are a successful writer.

If your goal is simply to write a children's book, or upload a few short stories to Amazon to sell, when you do it, guess what? You're a successful writer.

Remember that as you move forward and wade through rules, rejections, and other disappointments. As long as you don't give up, you're already a successful writer with each milestone you reach. And you have no where to go but forward. :D

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"Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed." --Abraham Lincoln

(I think he had a little bit of success, don't you?) :D

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click here.

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Yesterday's RMQ was: "This mortal form grows weak! I require sustenance!"

I LOVE this line! It's so funny precisely because it sounds so awkward. Chris Hemsworth said it in Thor, playing the film's title character. After my siblings and I saw this film, we started saying this every time we were hungry. It's so funny to see the reaction of people who don't know the film reference. :D

Alex Cavanaugh got this quote! Great job, Alex! :D

Today's RMQ:

"Last week we were all strangers, but we're all here, now...but if we can't live together, we're gonna die alone."

One point for show (it's a famous, recurring line/theme from a TV show), one for actor, one for character's name. Any guesses?


  1. I found this to be an inspiring post. It's so true: some authors can churn out three or books a year, while some writers (me included, though I'm an amateur, of course) have a hard time just putting their thoughts to paper for a short story. My lifetime writing goal is just to write one novel that I'm satisfied with-- it doesn't have to sell lots of copies, or even get published, but I just want to write the kind of novel I would want to read.

    Oh, and the quote at the bottom-- it's a great line from LOST, and the character who said it is Jack Shepherd-- or as we like to call him in my house, Dr. Giggles. Great quote. :)

    1. Thanks, Kat! I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Just keep at it and you'll get your book written. And let me know when you do! :D And you're right on the quote! Great job! Two points for you! :D Dr. Giggles is funny. I'd be interested to hear the origin of that name! :D

  2. Each of us defines success differently, and that's how it should be.
    My guess is from the show Lost, but as I've never watched it, I have no idea who said it.

    1. You're right! It's from lost! Kat got the show and the name, but if someone can get the actor's name, there's still one point up for grabs. :D Just sayin'. Thanks Alex!