Tuesday, October 26, 2021



Literary success conjures up visions of going on multi-cities tour, winning the Pulitzer Prize, having one of your books get to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list, and making much money, or at least enough not to need any other source of income. In all likelihood, this is how most people who do not write would define it.


          For some writers I’ve known, who wrote literary and esoteric fiction never intended for the masses, literary success is having an appreciative and dedicated following for what would never be mass-market success as in the above.

        For others, it means being traditionally published. It's a milestone many try to reach.


          I think all of the above qualifies. But I have long held to a definition so modest that only writing friends would recognize it. Literary success is when you get to the finish line with any of your stories. You thought it, you outlined it, you drafted it, you revised it X times, and you called it done.


          I wish y’all much such success 👍 because this sort depends on you alone.


Evelyn said...

And as such, I congratulate you, dear Mirka, on your many successes! Your creativity and perseverance in completing your stories is commendable and I've appreciated the privilege of getting to read many of them.

Vijaya said...

Oh Mirka, I needed to read this today. I'm ripping out huge chunks of the middle of my historical...will it ever be done? That I even managed to write a draft feels like a major accomplishment. Thank you.

Barbara Etlin said...

Any of the above works for me.

But my favourite fictional version of literary success is shown in the movie "Before Sunset." The debut American novelist goes on a European book tour, including a book signing in Paris's Shakespeare & Company. :-)

Janie Junebug said...

I like your take on literary success. Winning a Pulitzer or National Book Award and spending months on the NYT Best Sellers List are dreams that happen to a very small percentage of writers. Having realistic thoughts of success should bring greater happiness, I think.


Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great perception! Thanks for the reminder of true writer success.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

And, as for your wishing others many such success, "iqualmente" (or "same for you") :-)

MirkaK said...

Success is such a relative condition, one that can easily keep changing. Maybe you achieve one goal, but then there's another one after that, and after that. Thus the definition is in flux. I notice this in my own work. What seemed unexpectedly successful, at first, later morphed into something else I would call greater success. Lately, I've been reflecting on how what I thought I wanted (as a sign of success) no longer holds the same importance. A modest definition can keep you satisfied, instead of craving for more and bigger symbols of success. However, that doesn't mean you cease to try making better work, whatever your field of endeavor.