When I decided to write my manuscript fulltime I had a very different idea about what would define success to the opinion I have now. By the end of 2015 I had finished my first draft. The next eight months were spent editing, getting feedback from readers and other writers, having my manuscript professionally appraised, and eventually finishing a manuscript that I was happy with and ready to send to publishers. Some would consider all of this success, but I did not.
I wanted a finished book in my hands. I wanted to sign a contract and work with editors. I wanted to be able to call myself an author and not feel like a total fraud. That was what I would have defined as success when I imagined where I’d be in June 2017, or at least, being a lot closer to having all of that than I am now.
Focusing purely on what I don’t have, yet, could only lead to feelings of failure. I’m not yet published. I don’t know if the publishers I sent my manuscript to love or hate my work. I haven’t really furthered my career from where it was this time last year. All of this being my primary focus prevented me from seeing the triumphs I have made.
I wrote an entire novel. Created a whole new world from nothing but my own imagination. I finished it, and then edited it for months to turn it into the vision inside my head. I continued even when I hated every word I wrote, when I resented the decision to put the rest of my life on hold, and I kept going until the love returned and I had created something I was happy with. That is success.
Whether my novel finds a home with a traditional publisher, or I decide to put it out into the world myself, the fact that it exists is my greatest achievement. It is my intention to recognise it for what it is, and who I am for having written it. I am an author and I successfully wrote a manuscript, whatever comes next is merely furthering that success.