Define Success?



A loud sigh escapes my mouth. I’m trying to refrain from appearing tired but I really can’t help it. Sometimes it’s so hard on busy days like this. I’ve been signing books for an hour and I have to be at a television interview this evening. However am I going to survive? It’s just not easy when you’re book is on the bestseller list.

Well… this is what I hope my life will look like someday when my biggest worries are over exhaustion from press releases and signing. However, at the moment my life as a writer does not look anything like this. And that does make me worry about my success as a writer.

In many ways, my picture of success has always been something like the above vision. In 5th grade, my class was required to write a poem called “I Am”. We followed a format set out by the teacher but other than those requirements, we were free to fill in the blanks after the starting words as we wished. I wrote mine all about how I wanted to be a writer. I will let you read it (although I warn you it is of course merely a child’s prose and certainly not very good).

I Am

By Emily Moore- 5th grade


I am a happy girl who likes to write.

I wonder who is the best author in the world.

I hear people cheering for me.

I see letters stacking up.

I want to become an author when I grow up.

I am a happy girl who likes to write.


I pretend to be the best author in the world.

I feel that I am meant to be famous.

I touch all the books I hope to write.

I worry that no one will like my books.

I cry for all the sadness in the world.

I am a happy girl who likes to write.


I understand that it is hard to write a book.

I say that I will be great one day.

I dream that I will succeed in writing.

I try to write neatly.

I hope that people will give me a chance.

I am a happy girl who likes to write.


I think many people might follow with my young self in their definitions of a successful author. To be successful means to have several books, to be on bestseller lists, to have a fan base. However, while the world might view it that way, I view success a little differently.

Certainly, I recognize that a writer is obviously doing well if he or she is published and if a large amount of the populous is clearly enjoying his or her books. These are all wonderful things for a writer. However, I like to think of success on an individual level. Sometimes I feel successful just for getting smoothly through a chapter I was worried about. Sometimes I feel successful for a blog post other people seem to appreciate. Other times success is a good grade on a paper. There are levels of success and though I have yet to reach those of published writer (in any way, shape, or form other than this blog), I still hold onto what are successes of the moment.

I did well when I got through more than five chapters of a book without quitting back in junior high. I was courageous in showing my writing to my friends my freshman year and felt successful in earning their approval. I felt thoroughly accomplished when I finished writing my first novel last year and finished my second just a few short months after. Though the world may not view me as a successful writer, I can find small victories even amongst the basic work I do on my own laptop.

I just send this out as an encouragement to those of you who dream of being writers and don’t always feel you are accepted yet. You are a writer and you define your successes and failures. You can be great just in finishing a work for yourself. You can be a good writer in getting something published, even if it gets bad reviews. You can be successful even in conquering a particularly challenging blog post, essay, article, or chapter.

Don’t let the world’s definition of writer drag you down. You are a writer and you define how great you can be.


Filed under Writing

4 responses to “Define Success?

  1. I really liked what you said! I appreciated how you acknowledge how important tangible signs of success (such as being published) are. I also enjoyed the approach you took, how you started out with the press-release paragraph and then transitioned into the poem you wrote in 5th grade, very creative and original. Good job!

  2. jessmittens

    What a lovely post and great encouragement.
    Actually quite inspiring, thanks for writing this.

  3. I really like how you introduced the post, it was engaging and funny. I also love that you included that poem from your childhood — you’ve wanted to be a writer all along, and you’re still going! That’s great. The line “You can be successful even in conquering a particularly challenging blog post, essay, article, or chapter” really spoke to me — it’s all about the daily successes that add up to something bigger later. Great ideas 🙂

  4. Well done. I had no idea you had written a novel, let alone two! It may not have earned you a fan base (yet), but it impressed me, at least. I enjoyed your 5th grade poem quite a bit! It definitely reads like a 5th grade poem, but it is sincere, and that makes it a good poem regardless and of formalities.

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