I’m not sure what it means to make it as a writer. Does it occur after publishing a certain number of books? Is it when one receives the Pulitzer? Is it when one has a specific number of stalk- ahem, fans?
I don’t know. Perhaps my naiveté is due to my own lack of self-confidence. I don’t ever feel that I’ve made it as writer. Yes, I have a degree in creative writing. Yes, I was accepted into a somewhat competitive writing program. Yes, I have a blog with a small following. Those things don’t tell me I’ve made it. Those things surprised me when they happened, and they continue to surprise me. Someone likes my writing? Someone wants to hear what I have to say? Amazing.
Could I lose that sense of amazement if I were to gain a larger following? Would my attitude toward my writing change if I were to become semi-famous and have a book and a speaking career? Would I feel that I’ve made it?
I don’t think I would. I hope that I wouldn’t. Feeling that I’ve made it means I have nowhere else to go. I’m stuck at a certain point. I might have to keep writing the same thing or in the same style over and over again. I’ve reached the end. I would have to live on past glories rather than press toward new ones.
To me, that’s a death knell for the writing life or any sort of creative life. “Making it” may be a laudable goal, but it can’t be the end-all, be-all. The bar has to continue to be raised. The distance has to be lengthened, or the pace has to be quickened. I have to keep moving forward to something. I have to keep writing.
What do you think about “making it”? If you have made it, what has your experience with the status been?