Success

First of all, it’s been months and months since I blogged. I went through a non-creativity period where I was busy and not writing at all. I shirked some of my writing responsibilities, and for that I’m truly sorry. I’ve always been an up and down writer, but in order to be a successful writer I need to learn how to work through those periods of less creativity. Since that apology is out there, I’ll get to the point.

A few days ago, I was sitting in a bored board meeting. One of the many men said, “Successful people usually hang out with other successful people.” This is not news to most people, and it’s true. If you’ve ever tried to get a job it’s all in who you know (despite the fact that the ambiguous they will say it’s not). But it got me thinking, what is success anyway?

The dictionary defines success in the following way:

noun
noun: success; plural noun: successes
  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
    “the president had some success in restoring confidence”
    synonyms: favorable outcome, successfulness, successful result, triumph;

    Hollywood ending
    “the success of the scheme”
    antonyms: failure
    • the attainment of popularity or profit.
      “the success of his play”
      synonyms: prosperityaffluencewealthrichesopulence

      “the trappings of success”
      antonyms: poverty
    • a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
      “I must make a success of my business”
      synonyms: triumphbestsellerblockbusterselloutMore

      antonyms: failureflopnobody
    • archaic
      the outcome of an undertaking, specified as achieving or failing to achieve its aims.
      “the good or ill success of their maritime enterprises”

    I work an 8-5 job. I come home to spend time with my family. We make enough money to eat, go out to eat, go on wonderful vacations. The world would probably describe what Rob and I have achieved as a successful lifestyle (in large part because of the lottery of being born to the right families). But is what I have success? I’m not so sure.

    Success is personal. The definition of success I most relate to is a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity. Success in writing would be achieving publication, popularity, and being able to live off of my writing. Perhaps if this happened I would feel successful. Certainly, writing The Devil Within made me think of myself as successful, and it also made me think of myself as a writer. However, the dissolution of Booktrope threw a monkey wrench in my plans. This probably affected me more than I let on at the time. The more I think about it though, the more I think that failure often leaves to success. Those who take risks succeed, those who don’t go nowhere.

    The integral part of success seems to be the internalized desire to achieve a certain goal. For a person who is interested in business, that may be becoming a CEO. For someone who is super family-oriented, this may be staying home with their children and raising them to be capable well-adjusted (is that even a thing?) adults. For a writer, that could mean multiple things: writing everyday, becoming a published author, freelancing.

    The more I think about my idea of success the more I think it doesn’t line up with the traditional ideas of success promoted within our capitalist society. As a creative person, I find the hum-drum of a 8-5 job to be draining. Don’t get me wrong: I have a great boss and a great workplace, and hey it pays the bills. So many people would be content or even ecstatic with the life I have built. But to me, success is tied to writing. The more I write, the happier I am. And isn’t that the point of personal success? To be happy, the have a purpose-filled life?

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One thought on “Success

  1. First, let me say it’s good to hear from you after being away for quite a while. I love reading your posts. I miss them.

    This was a great post. In terms of my writing, I believe I achieved a sliver of success when I had a poem and short story published in a college magazine. But I feel like I can do better. By that, I mean I should be writing a novel (or short story collection) and having it published and living off the royalties. That sounds ambitious, and ambition is not without risk. And I guess that’s where I struggle. I haven’t been willing to take the risks needed to achieve the level of success I want. It’s been over ten years since I graduated from college and I don’t have one manuscript to my name. I have a number of short stories sitting on my flash drive or scribbled in my notebooks, but I don’t have the courage to submit them to journals or enter them in contests.

    I fear that I will never reach the success I define for myself. But perhaps, I’m not grateful for what I have accomplished. Being published on any level is something, even though it’s been over twenty years ago. I want to break the glass ceiling that hangs over my head. I want to overcome my fear and get my work out there. I’m sick of waiting for the “right” moment to put myself out there. There will never be a “right” moment. I need to strike now. I need to be ambitious and take the risks. And yes, that means embracing the likelihood of rejection. It’s going to happen, so why run from it? And besides, I have a supportive circle in my endeavors. Because of that, I’m successful.

    Liked by 1 person

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