Of course, the topic of success came up.
To me, the Amazing Flatmate is wildly successful. She can support herself working in the field she wants, in the city she wants. She's walked the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival. She's in demand. Frankly, I'm quite jealous of the levels of success she has achieved.
Of course, she doesn't really see it as success, for various reasons I won't get in to.
It made me think long and hard about what success is, or means. For example, I've had a couple of small successes this year already, chief amongst them a radio interview and reading for ChiSeries. Still, I would not consider myself successful by any measure.
Despite having written five fairly well-received books, I'm still entirely unable to support myself with my work, and am, in fact, working two jobs (four if you include my writing and my YouTube stuff) in an effort to make this life function.
I'm frequently burnt out from working, seem to live in a constant state of frustration, and feel otherwise impotent. All of this is often overwhelming, and I have days where I am paralysed by my situation, unable to do anything but cry, or stare into space.
What can I say? It's a hard road sometimes.
That, of course, begs the question, what do I consider success? That's a difficult question to answer. For now, I would consider myself successful if I was able to support myself with my work as an author and artist. Naturally, should I ever achieve such success, the goal posts would shift. I would reach for a loftier goal (say, being a guest of honour at various conventions or something like that, or perhaps receiving an award for my writing), and likely not consider myself successful until I get it... at which time the goal posts would shift again.
That is the nature of success, really.
I think it is perfectly normal for the definition of success to vary according to the person, and even vary in that person's life according to the stage they're in.
Would I ever be satisfied? Likely not. I don't think this is a bad thing. It's merely a drive for improvement, using markers to judge that improvement. It's not even about material gains. There's something else that drives me, and it's less about money than you might think. I think other creatives understand. Don't get me wrong, having money is great, and I would certainly be glad about having more of it, but it actually isn't the primary driver.
Even though I would use it as one of those ever shifting goal posts that is my measure of success.
So folks, here's a question, what do you consider success?