One Writer’s Definition of Success by Cassiel Knight

This past week, I spent four glorious days immersed in writing with some close friends. Despite the fact that we were in a lovely house right on the edge of the beautiful Oregon Coast, I think we were all pleased with the work we got done. I know I was. I’m sliding in on the end of book 2 of the Relic Defender series with the easiest part left to write – the ending. I love to write the beginning and the ending–the middle stuff just grinds me to a halt. I should write a post about that one day.

However, that’s not what I want to write about today. During the weekend and the car ride to/from the beach, one of the things that kept coming up was each individual author’s idea of what success means to her. The conversation started from a discussion about quitting our day jobs (those of us who have them). Doesn’t it seem that quitting the day job is usually top on the goals of a majority of authors? I’m not saying all; but certainly, a lot.

So, back to what defines success. For every author, just like most things, it’s going to be different. Some want to be on a bestseller list, and the next one and the next one and so on. Others want to see their books made into movies ala Janet Evanovich (OT — I’m actually looking forward to One for the Money on the silver screen). And still more define success for them as making money hands over fist.

All worthwhile aspirations. We all start out in the same place by defining success as getting The Call then it moves upward along a line that, for some, ultimately ends at being Nora Roberts. Okay, I made that up but how many of you reading this are sitting there dreaming about defining success as being just like Nora? And that’s totally fine. After The Call, our paths diverage and are as different as we and our stories.

My definition of success is nowhere near Ms. Roberts. In fact, I’m not even shooting for a bestseller list. During my book tour last October, I was asked the question – what does success mean to me. I didn’t even have to think about it because I knew:

Writing full time (the no day job – see, I have this one on my list too)

Having two to three books out a year

Readers waiting for my stories

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? However, just like many things in this business, nothing is as simple as it seems and there are no easy roads to reaching what you define as success. And how much of the above is in my control? All of it. But where I start is by writing and writing and writing. No definition of success is complete without actually writing, and finishing, a book.

What is your definition of success? I asked last week about your defining moment. For some, these may be the same but they may be different. In other words, what are you shooting for?

And no matter what your definition of success is, here’s my favorite quote to help you along the way, “Shoot for the Moon! Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” by Les Brown

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Posted on February 1, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I like your goals, Kim. I already consider myself a success because I’ve published three novels and have a fourth on the way. For me the “getting published” part was huge.

    However, I do have additional goals. 1) Consistently sell enough books that I can make at least $50K per year; 2) Have a series where readers are invested in my characters and/or world and begging for the next book; and 3) Have one or more books made into a movie.

    As for role models, I think Nora is a good one. But I’m also leaning toward J.K. Rowling. 🙂

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  2. Kim, I always love your questions. They make me think. I have to admit, I’ve always measured my writing success in terms of selling a lot of books, so big sales, being able to go to conferences when I want…you get the picture. But more recently, I’ve come to the realization that I want to measure my success in terms of writing a really good book. If it touches even one heart then I’ve done what I set out to do. Today I will consider myself successful if I can find balance in this crazy new world of publishing, and not be pulled into the tornado. And I still will feel successful if I *could* quit the day job, which it turns out, I actually may not 🙂

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