Monthly Column – May

Success: Fact or Fantasy? By Pam Thibodeaux

Success. It’s as alluring as sin, as elusive as the Muse. Is it real? Is it a dream or a fantasy? Who or what defines success? Webster’s dictionary defines succeed as “to accomplish what is attempted” and success as “the attainment of wealth, etc.”

As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is success.

As beginning writers, we define success as finishing that first scene, chapter, story or manuscript. As we grow as writers, our definition of success grows. We begin to think of success in terms of writing something that makes sense, that makes someone smile, laugh or cry; something that touches the reader. When we become published we associate success with sales, reviews, contracts,$ $$’s.

Success is measured in many ways, in small accomplishments and in large. There is no such thing as a small or moderate amount of success. Success is in and of itself; SUCCESS. It just is.

My book Tempered Hearts (the 1st in a 4 book series) was electronically published in December 2000. The 2nd book is due out in May 2001. Is that success? I’ve had one short story and one Inspirational article (and three other stories accepted for publication) in The Romantic Bower Ezine. Is that success? After writing for nineteen years and submitting for 8, I’ve actually begun to see a small income. A very slight return for the amount of time and money invested in this fickle business called writing. Is that success?

Many people have said to me: “You should be proud, actually writing a book is quite an accomplishment getting it published in quite another.” AND “Ms. Thibodeaux has an outstanding career ahead of her.” My book is getting reviews such as: “Steamier and grittier without decreasing the message” “A job well done” “An outstanding story of true love and the obstacles you have to overcome to realize loves permanence.” Do these comments make me successful?

Though I cringe at the thought of being ‘proud’ I am very pleased and grateful for the success God has granted me thus far.

How do you define success? Is it more successful to write the book of your heart or write for the market?

I believe success is in the heart. It is as personal as your relationship with God and with others.

Have you finished that rough draft, first chapter, difficult scene? You are successful.

Have you submitted to an agent or editor, signed that contract, made a few$ $$’s? You are successful.

Have you reached that goal, made new ones, are you steadily working toward them? You are successful.

Congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Toot your own horn. Don’t adhere to anyone’s opinion of success but your own and take the time to enjoy each tiny accomplishment along the way. And remember: “A man plans his way but God directs his steps.”

Place each goal in the hands of the Father, seek His wisdom and direction, be grateful and thank Him for every accomplishment and He will bless the work of your hands.

Born May 19, 1961, Pamela Thibodeaux is the mother of four children (two by blood and two by marriage) ranging in ages from 17 to 22. She works part time as a full-charge bookkeeper. Pamela has been writing for several years and is a member of Coeur de Louisiane and RWA. As a member of Coeur, she won the 1999 “Diamond In The Rough” award, the “Ruby” award in 2000, and is currently serving as Contest Chair and Publicity Coordinator for the organization. Pamela has a short story Angel of the Day (November 2000) and an Inspirational Article entitled: Perfect Love (Feb. 2001) published in The Romantic Bower Ezine at: Pamela has also written a novel, ‘Tempered Hearts’ published by Writers Exchange Epublishing


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