Monday, October 24, 2005

At What Point Success?

I've been thinking about Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, and the way human beings treat success, both their own and the success of others.

Are there criteria? Are those criteria universal?

When does an author become 'successful?'

  • Selling a book?
  • Earning a living?
  • Selling movie rights?
  • Hitting the bestseller list?
  • Having 1000 books in print? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000? 10,000,000?
  • Getting on television?
  • Winning awards?
  • Getting ten emails a week from fans? 100? 1000?
  • Having 100 website hits a day? 100,000?
  • Being ranked in the Top 50 on Amazon?
  • Getting paid for speaking?
  • Receiving fan mail?
  • Being known within your genre?
  • Being known by the general public?
  • Earning out your advance?
  • Getting a six figure deal? A seven figure deal?
  • Having your backlist still in print?
  • Being sold in Walmart?
  • Getting on Oprah?
  • Teaching and helping others?
  • Trying your best?
  • Being happy?

I know bestselling authors and self-published authors and many in between. I know writers with a lot of talent who haven't gotten published, and those who have gotten published without a lot of talent. I know that hard work plays a part, but so does luck, and luck favors the prepared.

But most of all, I know that if I ever want to be successful, my definition of success has to change.

The day I no longer need any kind of validation is the day I'll truly be successful.

Does anyone want to validate me on that?