When I first started writing my main goal was to get published. Period. At the time that seemed like enough of a goal to keep me going for a few years, if not forever.
I’ve found, however, that the closer I get to attaining that goal, the more that goal has shifted. Like now I’m thinking, sure, having my novel published would be great, but maybe I don’t want to publish it without it being a success.
And if it’s published, does that make me officially a good writer?
Or does it need to be a success before I can make that claim?
And how do I define that success?
And what changes am I willing to make to my manuscript to attain that success?
And…well, the list of ands is pretty much endless.
It raises the question of: is there ever a point in anyone’s life where they say “Yeah, this is good enough, I’ll stop here?” I don’t think so.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City in 2014, and to listen to New York Times Bestseller, Harlan Coban, speak about writing. And what he had to say was surprising. Because he told the crowd of people gathered in the enormous ballroom solely to listen to his words of wisdom, that inside, he believes he sucks. He used those words. “I suck.” According to Harlan, this is the curse of the writer, that ever present war between “I suck” and the need for affirmation that you don’t, in fact, suck.
At the time I remember thinking, if Harlan Coban worries that he sucks, what help is there for the rest of us? Now, I think that there will never be a time that I don’t feel that what I’ve produced is sub-par, that it could be better, that I suck. And that ever elusive bar of success will continue to shift (hopefully upward), and that’s okay. After all, what else do I have to do with my time? 🙂