Five Stages of Success

Do you feel like a successful  writer? Or are you waiting to pass some big milestone before you can feel successful? (e.g. sell a story, win a contest, finish a novel, get an agent)

Is success (in your thinking) saved for after you’ve reached your next goal?

No Finish Lines

If so, let’s re-define success.

Success, according to many experts, is a process. It is not a finish line you cross. There are milestones along the way. Haven’t you found that to be true? You set one goal and eventually are successful at achieving it. But what do we do almost immediately? We set a new goal and decide we will be successful at some point in the future when we attain that goal.

Is it any wonder we never feel successful? (Oddly enough, though, we see other writers as successful–even writers less published than we are!)

New Definition

Success, to be realistic, needs to be measured in a different way. Each step–each of the five stages–along the way in your writing career needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Personal Story

My own writing career started with taking the writing course offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. I poured myself into that course, set aside study time daily during naptimes, and graduated in ten months. After thirty rejections, I sold three of my assignments, and two years later, my first middle-grade novel to Atheneum. My seventh novel won a children’s choice award. I’ve gone on to write four series, some fiction and some nonfiction.

At what point did I consider myself successful? Truthfully, a big part of me still thinks of success as being “out there” somewhere. I look at other writers who have MFAs and high powered agents, and think, Now THOSE are successful writers!

Looking back, though, I would say that success happened at various milestones–and the first milestone was signing up for the writing course and taking my dream seriously. I think I was successful each time I got a rejection slip and decided to not give up. I think there were more successes than just the “public” ones we usually acknowledge: the sales, the awards, getting that agent.

The Five Stages

According to experts Paul and Sarah Edwards in Secrets of Self-Employment (Working from Home), there are five stages of success. Each is a milestone in itself. In order for the writing journey to be fun and rewarding, you really need to celebrate each victory–each success–along the way.

During the next five days, we’ll be talking about the five stages of success: Exploration, Preparation, Start-Up, Survival & Growth, and Bull’s-Eye.

Let’s re-think our definitions of success. Don’t focus just on the end result. Focus on being successful in the stage where you are right now. You’ll enjoy the process so much more this way!

[Next blog post on Friday is Stage One: Exploration]

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