Right now I am at a point where this is the advice that I keep getting from people:
You should be proud of everything you’ve already done, you should learn to accept that you are a success in your own way and just because you aren’t famous doesn’t mean you haven’t done something wonderful and aren’t talented.
Yeah, hold the phone there everyone who has ever said this to a writer. The thing is that my definition of success, the one that I hold true in my heart, is a definition of actual success. Not personal milestones. Not pats on the back from two to three friends or family members but real, tangible, measurable success. I’m not saying I’d have to be making millions or known world wide (it would be nice but I’m still not talking about that). I’m talking about having a career in which writing is the only thing I do and is what can sustain me.
If I never reach my own definition of success then I am a failure. I know people say not to think that way. I also know people will tell you that’s not true. Well, either they are lying to me or they have a very different definition of success than I do. Honestly, more than anything, it feel like people are nicely trying to tell me I suck but I should be happy with what I got because I’m not getting anymore. It feels like everyone who says that is trying to tell me to accept the fact that I am a failure and just be okay with where I am now because I’ve allegedly done a lot of work. That it’s something to be proud of.
I’m not saying I have no pride in my work. I’m not saying that I don’t feel accomplished. I’m not saying that I ignore the actual success of completing not just one but six novels. It’s just not the amount of success I want or the definition of success that I have given to myself. I think that success and failure as words are just as relative as the world normal. Though success and failure can be objectively measured, there are different types of success and failure. Different levels.
If I only ever was a cult hit author with maybe a hundred thousand followers, to me, that would still be successful because it would mean that I’d be making a living off of my writing even if it was a meager one. To others, that would not be enough and still mean failure because they aren’t famous, aren’t rich, aren’t winning awards. To some people, failure is where I am at now because of this. To other people, just finishing and self publishing one book is a success.
I’m not here to tell anyone their definition of success or failure is wrong. I am here to say that personally, to me, I am not successful. I have done nothing of note and my life will be meaningless if I never achieve that status. The older I get, the more I’m painfully aware that I will never get my way on this. That I have wasted my life and sacrificed everything else for nothing. I ave given up on the idea of true love, marriage, kids, a family….because I want nothing else. I want nothing other than to be a success in writing. I have given up so much, worked so hard, and tried to a point where it’s painful and nothing is happening.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the followers I do have, or the meager reads and reviews I rarely get on Amazon but this isn’t success. This is not my version of success. I will never ever feel like I’ve succeeded until I can make a living off of my writing. Since that will also never happen I’m feeling like I’m pretty much doomed to live the crazy spinster life, becoming more and more bitter until I die alone at 80 and my cats eat my face. My work getting notice after I’m dead (if it even does because I also doubt that as a possibility) would mean nothing anyway. To anyone. Especially not me because I’d be dead.
I already wrote about how I’m in the wrong city and walk of life to be successful and how that will never change. It will never get better. I don’t have the ability to move to a better city to get noticed or to network. I don’t have the money to travel or relocate. I never will. My chances of ever being a famous writer in the way I want stand at 0% and they always will. Give me one good reason to even keep trying if this is the case. So, feel free to look at me, and judge me with your personal definition of success, but it is not my own. I am and probably always will be a failure.