For my daughter, I once drew a diagram about how a good life is lived, a life that gives satisfaction. A line between doing stuff for yourself and doing stuff for other people. Are you too heavily weighted in one direction or the other? Another line, crossing the first, between time spent alone and time spent with others. Where along this line is the point where you mostly live? The best life is balanced somewhere between so many factors: work and play, physical activity and mental activity, practical and creative, and so on and on.

Where is success for a writer? What sort of success am I looking for? Some of the people dispensing advice at the convention measured by how much money you made; by how many readers you had; by how much time you spent at conventions promoting yourself; by whether you were on bestseller lists; by awards you could get; by whether you sold several big novels; by whether you continued to sell smaller works on an ongoing basis; by whether you could support yourself in the profession; by whether you ever finished anything, regardless of whether it sold.

I suspect that everyone has a different point of balance between all these factors. I will have to find mine.


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