A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
I will consider myself successful when…
“Finish this sentence: As a writer, I will consider myself successful when…”
This very questions has crossed my mind so many times over the years. When I was younger I used to think that I will be successful when I have a New York Time No. 1 bestseller. When you dream, you’re supposed to go big, right? No? Well, as time has gone on I’ve discovered how hard it is to just finish a novel. When I say finish I mean a first draft, followed by edit after edits, and with some final spit and polish. This thing should fucking gleam in the sunlight. That way when the agent opens it to read my manuscript they’re immediately blinded and I become their only client.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple years. Only the first though did I actually try and succeed. I even spilled into December and finished it on the 6th. I was so very proud of myself. Now I’ve been pouring over it ever since. I finished that one at the tail end of 2009. Or maybe it was 2010… Regardless I have spent entirely too much time pondering the plot lines and if it’s good enough that I have written myself into a corner and fear taking a step out of it. I imagine that has happened to so many before me. I’m sure it’s what keeps others from even attempting at all. That’s just the nature of the beast and some artists are just not well equipped to handle the pressure that comes with trying to make a business out of their art.
At one time I thought success would be to get a book published. Then I lowered that bar to getting and agent… And at some point I settled for just finishing my book.
The infuriating thing is that I know I can do it. I can finish my book and submit it to agents. There is no doubt in my mind. I have the capability and drive to get me there. It’s just my inner critic, my doubt, my fear, that keeps me stationary.
Once a polished manuscript sits in my hands, only then, will I consider myself successful. It means I have pushed through my worst obstacle, myself.