I’ve had a lot of reason to think about what it takes to run your own business, lately. What qualifies as success? When do you know you’ve “made it”?
I still don’t know the answers to that question. I’ve been doing this full-time author thing on and off for three years now, and I still question every morning as to whether I’m doing well enough to keep going with it.
But I do. Every day I face the paperwork and the writing-related tasks and aim to get the next book read and the current books sold.
Most days, it’s a challenge. Some days it’s next to impossible. The days between those, I stare at the wall and ask myself what kind of day job I’d like to have.
Why can’t I determine whether I’ve hit success or not? Because it’s the arts, and nothing about the arts is predictable. A book that’s selling really well today will stop selling altogether tomorrow. Then stay quiet until, suddenly, out of the blue, a wild promotion appears*! Books take off! I’m doing well! I’ve finally made it! …. then crickets.
A lot of the arts is luck, and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely too lucky to have noticed it.
That’s not to say it’s everything — luck without hard work is great for the short term, but it can’t last unless you’re, like, SUPER lucky.
The other important factor?
Not just what you feel for what you bring to your work every day, but what you show the world. If you’re feeling meh about your project, why should other people care? If you’re super pumped about it — the motivations, the ideas, the meaning — then your audience/clients/etc. have something to connect with. They have a reason to feel passionate and excited about seeing the final product.
That’s what keeps the heart in the work.
That in itself isn’t easy all the time, but that’s why it’s so important to foster it, nurture it, express it in every way, shape, and form you possibly can.
So all the hard work with a liberal splash of passion and a healthy sprinkle of luck?
Sounds great to me.
*like now! Are you a fan of abandoned asylums, murder mysteries, and strong family ties? The first book in my supernatural thriller series is on sale for 99c until July 26!