I'm in the early stages of my writing career where the measure of "success" can be marked with easily notable milestones. The big ones along the path still stand out. Actually finished a novel! Full request on my query letter! Offer of representation! Really nice rejection letter!
And, of course, those stood out because those
were the things I could grasp on to in the moment. They were little
things that represent huge victories.
But they were
also victories that were challenging to really talk about or celebrate,
as they lacked tangible benefits. When I talked about this to an actor
friend, he likened it to getting a third callback on a major movie
role. Yeah, it shows you're getting there, that people notice your
work... but it's not really anything beyond the humblebrag.
think those are vital toeholds as you work your way up the wall. You
need those little things. You need those few encouraging words you
might get along the way.
Even now, with the initial
trappings of "making it"-- I've got the contract, the publishing deal,
the gorgeous cover, the release date-- it's hard to call myself a
"success". The book hasn't come out yet, no reviews, that lingering
voice of doubt whispering in my ear that no one is really going to like it.
I don't let myself listen to that voice.
is always over the next horizon. I mean that in the best way-- I don't
think it's some ephemeral thing that can never be reached. I mean that
the act itself of progressing toward it is, in and of itself, the real
success. It's reaching a new plateau, taking a brief moment to savor
that, and then looking up at the next one and saying, "Yeah, that's
where I'm going to go."
All right, off to the word mines. See you in there.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
The Metrics of Success
Posted by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Fantasy and Science Fiction Novelist, as well as a playwright, living in South Austin with his wife and son. He is the author of the Maradaine Novels:
The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages , The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue , The Holver Alley Crew, The Imposters of Aventil , Lady Henterman's Wardrobe , The Way of the Shield (October 2018) and A Parliament of Bodies (March 2019).
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com