Last night, I gave my only television to my sister. I am reclaiming the thought-space in my mind, rejecting the ease of stimulus and distraction. I am making time for tasks that are both harder and more meaningful.
Because I’ve defined what success looks like for me. I stopped buying the one-size-fits-all definition of what it means to succeed as a writer. I know what I want, and I can see how I’ll get there. My passion for writing and for sharing my stories is restored. The act of defining what I want freed me, because I’ve finally (FINALLY!) grasped that you and I can both be “real” writers, even if we want different things out of our writing.
The big screen TV couldn’t show me the way to freedom and inspiration. That took introspection, spirituality, and a good kick in the motivation from Dan Holloway’s SELF PUBLISH WITH INTEGRITY. I did the exercises he suggests, not really expecting them to work, but willing to be teachable. One of the first things I realized is that I would write even if I could never distribute my work. I would write because writing is my joy. It’s the jazz and the bliss. My drive to write, abstracted from pressure of preconceived ideas of success, has nothing to do with becoming “legitimate” or getting a publisher or a movie deal. I would write even if I could never share my stories. Writing is how I play, and I am a playful being. Of course, I can share my stories. That opens up entire planetary systems of introspection, mostly around the question of whether or not I should charge readers for the stories that are given to me as a gift. This topic is a field full of ancient landmines just waiting for one false step, I know. I read the blog posts about the tsunami of stink and the generalized, bizarre panic that there might be too many stories in the world now that anyone can publish. I’m doing cartwheels through that field. I’m standing in the middle of it and offering my stories for free, forever. I’m releasing balloons one at a time, each of them carrying a story on the internet’s breeze.
The reason I have the courage to do this comes from having done the work to determine what MY success looks like.
FOR ME, SUCCESS IS:
- Respecting the nature of the story as gift.
- Making everything I write available in at least one free format, in as many venues as I can find.
- Producing stories and novels of the best quality I can, including the expense of a qualified editor.
- Trusting that the readers who are meant to find my work, will find it.
- Having a core group of enthusiastic, kind supporters, even if that group is small.
- Having fun with getting the word out about my stories by making friends and being of service.
- Producing paperback and e-formats for readers willing to pay for physical copies or convenience.
- Stickers. There will be stickers involved in this, somehow. And possibly balloons.
- A stranger sharing my stories with their friends.
- Happiness, a lack of anxiety, deliberate bliss-seeking.
I hope my list inspires you to give the exercise a try. If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear about your definition of success.
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