by Gregg Bridgeman
Note: This is the second blog in Gregg’s series, The Essentials, a four-part series describing essential habits and attitudes for writing success.To read the first post, Actively Love Writing, click here.
You love writing [click here to read post #1]. You, therefore, want to succeed at writing. If you honestly seek to succeed, it is essential that you define for yourself how you will measure success in order to determine whether or not you have achieved it.
To define success for yourself, you must identify the parameters of your personal success equation, such as a) why you write in the first place, b) what your writing goal is, and c) what quantifiable sign will inform you that you have succeeded.
Why do you write in the first place?
Why bother when you could do something—anything—else? Writing takes a LOT of hard work, after all and love and sacrifice. Why do it? Why would you want to do it?
Do you write to benefit yourself or others? Do you write for acceptance? Do you write because you have no choice, because you feel absolutely compelled to personally explore and communicate and expound upon an idea that inspired you by creating a sculpture made of words? Do you consider writing an artistic endeavor wherein you are the craftsman or is it more a job of work requiring mainly skill and intellect? Do you have a talent for it? Do you seek to educate, elucidate, elaborate, or validate? Do you seek to entertain or inspire? Do you write in support of a social cause? Must you document the facts of the accomplishments of an individual worthy of biography in order to set the record straight? Is writing cathartic for you? Is writing your vocation? Do you write for some other reason that is known only to you in the stillness of your heart and mind? Is writing your calling? Is it your profession?
Do you write because God has called you to that profession?
What is your writing goal?
Do you have in mind a short-term or long-term goal? Do you want to write a single poem, a single newspaper article, a single devotional entry, a single short story, a single novella, or the Great American Novel? Do you want to complete a series? Is it your goal to write more than one series? Is it your goal to accept accolades, recognition, awards, five-star reviews, or a good grade? Is it your goal to publish with a particular publishing house? Is your writing goal known only to you in the stillness of your heart and mind?
God has given you this writing talent. Is your goal to carefully steward that God-given talent and one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
Once you have a vision, define an achievable goal in the context of that vision, and craft a mission statement toward achieving that goal.
What is your mark of success?
Have you met success in the form of a nomination for a particular literary award? Is success finding your name on the byline of a national newspaper or seeing your name amongst others on a best seller list?
Do you strive to increase your personal income by a quantifiable amount based on sales and once you achieve that you will know you have been successful? Is that your yardstick that measures success?
Would you consider it a success to see your book on the shelf of your local library or in a national book store chain? Do you hope to sell a million books or is success giving a few hundred books away?
Why it’s essential.
Understanding the motivations and the reasons you write, setting achievable goals, and your definition of success is going to directly influence the manner in which you pursue writing. Once you have these parameters defined, you can cast your writing vision or formulate your mission statement.
Gregg Bridgeman is Editor-in-Chief of Olivia Kimbrell Press ™. Then as now, he operates the press as a ministry. He currently serves in the National Guard, is a decorated combat veteran, and is best known for his technical savvy and attention to the smallest detail. Check the Workshops page for two opportunities to attend classes he will teach at KCWC.