In writing and podcasting about habits this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between what the world sees as success, and our internal motivation for writing.
What is success?
When I finish a story?
When I write a paragraph I’m happy with?
When someone else picks my story to publish on their platform?
When I get paid to write?
When my book is published?
When a reader sends me a comment telling me I’ve touched them?
When I revise a scene and it really works?
When I hit my monthly word count goal?
When I don’t go three days without writing something?
I’ve written before about how important it is to define success for ourselves, and I keep coming back to that message. Kobe Bryant expressed it perfectly in that quote, above.
Learning To Love The Journey
This morning someone posted one of those quotes saying, “I don’t love writing. I love having written” on social media.
(And yes, my first mistake was going on social media instead of writing first!)
I know that’s the case for some people. And I know that writing isn’t a continuous rainbow-ribbon of a road lined with calorie-free gumdrop trees and wine fountains.
Writing is hard and frustrating and joyous and satisfying and intensely draining.
But that’s what makes it fun.
Sure, seeing your work published and hearing nice comments from readers is lovely.
But that’s momentary. It’s ephemeral. It’s not enough to drive me to my keyboard every day.
The struggle, the small satisfactions of making a scene work, of finding the right words for a character…that brings me back every day.
Living my identity as a writer, that’s success.
So I’m no longer smiling wryly and clicking ‘like’ when I see that quote about loving having written.
Instead, I’m focusing on Kobe Bryant’s words.
“Those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those timeswhere you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t feel like pushing yourself, but you do it anyway: that’s is actually the dream. It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.”
What can you focus on, to help you love writing, not just ‘having written’?
What action can you take today that would be one more step on the journey?