Defining Success

Defining SuccessFor the past two weeks I’ve been in a funk in regards to my writing. Emotionally, I was like a little girl on a swing, pumping my legs to go higher and higher until suddenly fear eclipsed the joy of soaring through the air. I was scared of falling, of failing, of not being good enough, and of losing the joy and happiness of swinging on a swing just for the fun of it.

For an obsessive-multi-tasking-tough-on-the-outside-vulnerable-on-the-inside-user-of-all-of-her brain (right-brain creative, left-brain analytical) writer like myself, the emotional funk was a hard blow to my muse and my self-confidence.

I had to step back from social media, stop all individual emails from my various Yahoo loops, and think hard on what success meant for ME, and not for another debut author or multi-published author traditionally or self-published or published by a small press or any of the big six New York publishing houses.

What does success mean for me, Ashlyn Mathews? How do I define or grasp the meaning of success if I have nothing to compare it with? I won’t compare myself to others. Doing so isn’t healthy or productive.

Merriam-Webster defines success as: a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

After some soul searching, I define success to be a well-written story that will resonate with a reader. I hope to someday reach thousands with my books. But at this point in my career, if I can make someone cry, laugh, root for, think of and love or hate my characters, I’ve been successful. What about you? How do you define success?

3 thoughts on “Defining Success”

  1. Hi Ashlyn, I love your idea of success! That’s how I think of it, too. Sometimes I get bogged down in that whole mindset of, “But *those* people are successful over there, what is wrong with me? Why is this taking so long?”. Your post was a great reminder to me that it’s all relative, and I’m really grateful for how far I’ve come. Three years ago I had NO CLUE how to even begin writing a novel, and now I have learned so much! Also, I just want to let you know that I find your honesty and openness about your writing journey SO refreshing. You are doing a GREAT JOB and I wish you all the success you shoot for this year! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tara. It’s good to know some of my ramblings and insecurities do help others realize that our journeys are all unique. Continue to write and soak up all the knowledge you can. You’re gonna be great!

  2. Hi Ashlyn!

    I think it’s important that each of us defines our own success instead of following someone else’s formula! You’re a great author, and don’t you forget it!


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