Thursday, February 5, 2015

Elusive success

It always gives me pause when writers who seem to me to have attained enviable success reveal that they don't feel successful. They are worried about their sales numbers, their readership, their ability to publish again. They're not sure their work in progress will pan out, or that their manuscript on submission will find a home, or that their self-published novel will find readers. They've parted ways with their agent, or their publisher has gone under/merged with another/changed direction, or their books have gone out of print, or they don't yet have an idea for their next book.

I'm reading a memoir by a well-known actor--someone I would certainly call successful--and I'm finding the same thing in his story: Times when his career cooled. A longing to have had better box-office numbers, different roles, more recognition. Worry.

Others can see our achievements, but we always see the ladder rungs that we haven't reached, the projects that didn't pan out, the opportunities that never quite materialized. I'm beginning to suspect that it is common, if not universal, to find success elusive. Like the horizon, it's just beyond one's grasp.