What Is Success Anyhow?

success-secrets-1I’m late again! I’ve got to be the flakiest Shadowspinners blogger here. Or, the most likely to get overwhelmed and lose track of things. Either way, I am hanging my head in sheepish mode as I write this post. The funny thing is, a few minutes ago I thought I was on top of it when I remembered to check when I was due to write a post.


Despite this blip, it’s amazing how much I can get done when real life whams me in the face. As of about three weeks ago I suddenly became a prospective first-time home buyer. (For context, see this blog post over on my personal blog.) The process has taken over my brain, eating up the space required for remembering and writing Shadowspinners posts, paying bills, and so on.

So this is my real life. But what about my writing life? (My writing life is my real life too, yes, but you know what I mean.)

Well, it has to proceed forward because of deadlines. And that’s not counting my day job too. What strikes me in the middle of this high-stress time is how resilient we are even as our stomachs tie in knots and sleep eludes us. Overall, I seem to be getting a lot done. For example, over the weekend I finally finished rewriting the end of the novel. It felt great!

Then, first thing this morning the emails started: house inspection details, getting a contractor in to check the dry rot situation on a house I would love to own (stay objective, Lisa!), setting an appointment with the mortgage broker … My god, I had no clue!

In the midst of it all fiction waves its hand like it always does. Don’t forget me! You need to get some of me in today too! And my breathing grows shallow, so I do my breathing exercises once again.

There’s no solution to any of this except to hunker down and get shite done. For a few weeks, I say “no” to social engagements, reading (which is hard), and anything to do with browsing for furniture online. The last is a huge temptation. I mean, my own home! I can’t help but daydream, but I can’t. Not yet. For one thing the deal isn’t done. For another, I need to get the writing done.

So I have been. Yesterday I wrote while at the salon. That’s 45 minutes right there while my hair marinated in dye. A few weeks ago I wrote all day at a mountaintop retreat house while my friends skiied. (The weekend away had been on the books for months.) I enjoyed my Friday happy hour last week — while writing.

Last night I ended up meeting a friend for a drink. I had finished the new final chapters and decided to reward myself. (Hint: Rewards are good during the hectic times.) We got to talking about success. What is success anyhow, especially when it comes to writing? Is it awards or sales or what? Most of the time I don’t feel particularly successful as a novelist. I could have a bigger publisher, I could write faster than I do, I could have a better “platform” that I actually do something with, I could be more like this person or that person …

That way madness lies. So what is success?

Success is writing while at the salon.

I feel hectic and forgetful right now, sure, but also very successful. I’m facing my terror of home ownership and getting my writing done. I’m managing to walk my dog too. And that counts for heckuva lot too.

So what’s your idea of success?

7 thoughts on “What Is Success Anyhow?

  1. Someone once told me. “Cheryl, as soon as you reach one brass ring you barely see it for the new shiny one just ahead.” They were so very right. So success for me is trying to enjoy the one brass ring I reach and leisurely sauntering to the next one. If I don’t get there that’s OK too. Yeah right! Well…I try. Great post to ruminate upon my dear…

    • It’s so hard to not be oriented toward the future, isn’t it? It’s like everything will be perfect when …. But nothing’s ever perfect. A friend has a story she tells about a friend of hers. Forget what he does, but he was in a private plane with Robert Redford (yah, I know) and Newman’s looking out the window, ruminating, and he says, “You know who’s REALLY got it good? Paul.” As in Paul Newman!

      That’s just nuts. But goes to show!

  2. Pingback: What Is Success Anyhow? « Lisa Alber's Words at Play

  3. Pingback: Thinking about Home in Life and Writing | ShadowSpinners

  4. Success has such a loose definition and has been so over used to the point that its meaning is completely subjective. Some think of it as a destination and others refer to it as a continuous process. I like Earl Nightingale’s definition of success, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.” I feel it is similar to how you see success as well.

    Great post. We should connect, come check me out! Just search “Toronto Life Coach on Google, I am studying under Master Life Coach Bruno LoGreco. Keep up the inspiring work!

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