What is the measure of a writer’s success? Is it placement of a short story in a lit mag? Obtaining an agreement with an agent? A book deal? Is it less than these? Is it finishing a draft? Starting a draft? Developing a character or finding a plot turn? Is it simply finding the right word or sentence or voice in a snippet of dialogue?
I suppose it is all of these things – depending on the day and the ebb and flow of our work.
But for me these days, with all of life crashing in, success in writing seems to be simply sitting down each day and doing the work. Actually spending time writing each and every day. This is success.
So, let us not put undue pressure on ourselves. We are successful simply by producing sentences each day. And in this way we are successful should we never get a piece placed or a book contract. And let’s be clear, should those things come, we are not more successful. For our grandest arrivals don’t come independent of the steps taken along the way.
The crafting of sentences is our writerly success.