“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end someplace else.” Yogi Berra
To begin, you should have a vision of what you’d like to accomplish with your writing career. Are you looking to create some a little bit of extra income to pay down some debt, go on a vacation, complete a home remodeling project? Are you looking to create a full time career that generates a comparable income to what you’re making today? Or are you looking to write the next New York Times bestseller, do a fifty-state book signing tour, and be on Oprah, Ellen, and The Tonight Show? Maybe your goal is simply to pursue your writing as a hobby for relaxation, to get your mind off work, and productively occupy your free time.
And what does your vision of success look like? Does success mean that you complete one short story over a long weekend? Does success mean that you start blogging for your favorite web site to earn some extra money each week? Maybe for you success means writing the Greatest American Novel of the current decade, making millions of dollars...living in Hawaii writing on the lanai with the sound of the waves accompanying the sound of the keyboard on your laptop?
However you picture yourself as a writer and however you define success, the first step in being a “successful writer” is to define what that looks like for you. Write down on a piece of paper (or type out) the following phrase: "The definition of a writer for me is…" Now take a few moments to define for yourself what your success will look like. If you haven’t thought about it, take some time to define for yourself what you want to accomplish with your writing career. Stop and take a few moments to figure out what it will take for you to see yourself as successful. If you've already thought about this, then finish the sentence, this exercise should be relatively painless for you.
If you use this definition, that means the you can define yourself as a writer and successful even if all you want to do is create a collection of short stories throughout the next year for your own personal enjoyment. Only you can define what it means to be successful.
Next week I'll write about putting your Vision to action.