Today's post title is a little facetious - I'm not sure one ever knows if one has "arrived" in a business, unless you win an Oscar or are elected President or something. But in talking about writing, it's interesting to think about milestones, and how we know whether we've "arrived" as a writer.
Does it mean we finish writing a book? Or that we sign with an agent? Maybe we "arrive" when the book is finally published, and others can buy it. Does it need to be in print, or is e-book enough these days? Maybe you haven't really "arrived" until you hit the New York Times best-selling list, or your book is made into a movie. Or until you're a household name.
For me, it has been a series of milestones, and each time I meet a new one, I feel another giddy sense of "arrival." The first time was when I signed a contract in 2007 for One Night in Boston, my very first book, with Samhain Publishing. The next was when I received my print copies of that book in the mail.
The next big moment of "arrival" was finding Summer's Song on the shelves in a Borders in NYC - that remains a highlight of my career. I also had the chance to be interviewed on a Portuguese news channel when Kindles first came out - that was pretty cool. I was invited to a women's luncheon for authors who had influenced readers. I went to Las Vegas for the EPPIE Awards, for One Night in Memphis, in 2009. A reader from the Czech Republic wrote a fan letter and asked if I'd send her a bookmark.
And yesterday, I reached two more mini-milestones that made me think, "huh, maybe I've arrived in this industry." A local book club, Between the Covers, chose The Promise of Paradise as their March read, and I decided to hire myself a virtual assistant to try and organize my writing and marketing life this year. (More on this later - virtual assistants may sound fancy and high-falutin', but they're quite affordable)
I guess what I mean to share with all this is not only the twisty road that my writing life has taken, but also that we as writers should celebrate ALL the milestones along the way, that there isn't one "moment" that means we've arrived as a writer. As I know from first-hand experience, around another bend can be something that knocks you flat on your face. I've had editors leave, publishing houses fold, manuscripts rejected more times than I can count. It's how we pick ourselves up that really matters. We've "arrived" when we decide we have, plain and simple. Don't let others dictate the measurement of your success .