For every person out there with a goal, there are about ten different measures of success. I’ve discovered this recently as I participated in two blog hops. The first one, Alpha Males, brought over 120 unique page views and 49 comments. The second was Autumn Harvest and just ended on Monday evening which got just over 100 unique page views and 39 comments. So which one was more successful? That depends on how you measure success. That Alpha Male comments were mostly generic, people were commenting only to be entered for the giveaways (which is totally understandable). For Autumn Harvest a much greater percentage of my comments responded to something I had said in my post. In my mind, I reached more people through Autumn Harvest than Alpha Males. My Sweetie (and web designer) was more disappointed by Autumn Harvest though. He sees things in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which doesn’t care if people actually read the stuff, only if they leave links on the site. More comments = more links. More links = higher placement in search results. Or so he tells me.
Who’s right about the success of the blog hops? We both are. That’s just the thing, success comes in many sizes and forms. Each person, for each project, will have a measure of success – healthy self esteem my depend on having more than one way to measure success for each project (more than one success measure ups your chances of succeeding in some way).
It’s November and that means that people all around the world are taking up the challenge to write a novel in a month. Just in my own little corner of the world I can see at least four definitions of success emerging. My own definition is to finish the novel, the complete arc right up to the conclusion before the end of the month. Many of my friends are looking for the 50,000 words even if that doesn’t get to the end of the story. Sweetie is participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and his word count is pretty far down there, but he’s not worried. The story is coming along fine and he’ll call it a win when he gets the whole plot sketched out. A few people are just wacky enough that they are hoping to get 100,000 words written. All of these worthy expressions of success
Then there are the other measures of success that aren’t so healthy. Wealth and fame for example. There are people who see success only in terms of money. How much money do you have? How much do you make? Did that project turn a profit or not? Others only care how famous you are. If everyone knows your name, that’s all it takes. Are you the subject of paparazzi photos? Do people dream of meeting you? Do you get to meet all the other famous people? I call these unhealthy measures of success because they aren’t things that you can control really. You can work really hard and never manage to make a $million, just because the economy is fickle and people who want what you’ve got don’t have the money to buy it. The same thing for fame. The national attention span is rather short and if your talent doesn’t happen to get you in the public eye at just the right time, you can be chasing that fame piece all your life and never achieve it, no matter how talented you are. These measures are a likely to drive you insane as they are to show you if you’ve succeeded.
Now to be clear, I’m not going to turn down my chance to earn $million or become famous enough to be invited as a guest on late night TV, I’m just not going to worry about that when I’m trying to decide if I’ve succeeded. I’m going to look to measures that are firmly in my control.
Do I get my blog posts finished on time? – yes, yea! I succeeded.
Do I get my story written front to back in November? – yes, yea! I succeeded.
Do I cross that 50,000 word mark before November 30? – yes, yea! I succeeded.
Do I earn the love of my Sweetie and fur children? – yes, yea! I succeeded.
This list will be different for each and every person out there. As it should be. Success is a very flexible thing. So go out there and find your success.
Also, please note that NaNoWriMo is a donation based organization, please consider donating to support all the wonderful novelists who are doing their part to keep the libraries, book stores and more importantly your bookshelves full. Follow this link to donate.