I recently had a front row seat to hear one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Anna Fermin, perform. She was previewing new songs with her band, Trigger Gospel. It was easy to get a great spot because there were only about 30 other people in the club.
Anna has been performing professionally for almost 20 years. Her voice was once described as “a perfect balance of grace and gusto.” Best of all, she’s a wonderful, evocative songwriter who obviously works very hard at her craft.
But Anna has never achieved the commercial success she deserves. It hasn’t been for lack of hard work or talent.
Listening to Anna made me think about how we define success. Most people see success in terms of outward rewards. Money is the big thing. We’re successful when we write a best seller, buy a house in Malibu, and drive a Tesla. Or we get other kinds of outward rewards: a Pulitzer in literature, an Emmy or Oscar, or maybe just 100 likes for a blog post.
Those rewards are nice, though often fleeting, but what about rewards that we can actually control, rewards we can enjoy for their own sake? What if we, as writers, measured success by our own satisfaction with a book we’ve written, or maybe with just a really good writing day, or even a single sentence that makes us feel happy.
Think about it, and don’t get too hung up on outward rewards. It might just heighten your creativity, and making you a happier person in the long run.