Measures of Success
Just to be clear, I don’t find “success” a particularly useful concept in the arts or life. Still, I admit the word sometimes crosses my mind on a cloudy day. We hear of a successful painter, actor, novelist, or musician. They tend to be the famous ones; that’s why we hear of them. Comparing oneself to them is probably unconstructive.
Success is the achievement of a goal. Whether you’re successful depends what you’re aiming for. That needn’t be fame and fortune. It needn’t be overt; some people like explicit goals, some don’t. For decades of freelancing, I aimed to earn a living by writing and succeeded in doing so. Now I aim to do what I love and improve my craft. My most useful measurable goals are the little ones: finish drafting a chapter by the end of next week, post a blog entry every Monday, pull weeds around the irises. Where it all may lead, I’m willing to wait and see.
6/18/2018 04:52:05 pm
So very true Sarah. The sooner you learn this life lesson, the better. I certainly wish I could have come to this conclusion earliier in life!====================
Beth, I got pushed into it against my will, but have been much happier since figuring it out. Happiest of all when the notion of success doesn't even cross my mind, except in relation to something small and experimental, with curiosity perhaps but no particular ego involvement.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.