High Definition

One of my favorite questions to ask writers is ‘what does writing success mean to you?’. I ask it in author conversations for book events and often in personal conversations and in the 3 minutes with series have posed it to the authors in the story bundles I’ve curated. Why the same question?

(1) It interests me, (2) I think it informs other writers and people who are considering taking the writing plunge, and (3) it communicates more than I ever could about the risks and rewards of a writing life. (4)I also think it’s useful as hell when trying to chart what comes next in one’s journey.

 Recently, award-winning author, Nisi Shawl gave a great answer to this question that speaks to the evolutions and considerations of a writing career. 

Their response mirrors the variety of answers I’ve heard. Luckily, the list of successes is long, and of course as varied as the people who’ve answered—from poets to horror writers to journalists. It can indicate the current conditions of the publishing industry and reading communities as well. 

Like any effective exercise it keeps you conditioned to achieve.

Just as knowing why you’re saving your money or investing can motivate you to reach your goals quicker and with more exuberance, so too does naming your ideal destination. It can help make it the ultimate destination of your journey.

The greater the definition in one’s vision, the more likely she is to see it materialize—and just as  importantly to recognize it when you reach it.

Tenea D. Johnson


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