If I asked the one thing, as a writer, you want to accomplish before you die, chances are you wouldn’t have a hard time giving a straight answer.
Most people want to write and/or publish a book. Some want to write for a specific company or in a specific genre. It varies from person to person.
But what most don’t realize is that even if they publish that book or become a writer for a specific employer, they still might not consider themselves “accomplished” writers.
Because a published author will always want to publish more books.
A staff writer will always want to generate more article hits.
Even end goals have stretch goals. Which makes it even harder for every writer to figure out how to achieve the most they can and consider themselves satisfied.
Is there some kind of chart that states when you’ll officially have “made it”? We all wish there were. In reality, the “answer” is much less clear.
Being an accomplished writer means whatever you want it to mean.
Maybe for you, it would mean blogging consistently for a few years and successfully growing your audience and increasing your traffic.
Maybe you need to publish a book before you achieve the sense of accomplishment you’re craving.
Or maybe you just want to, once and for all, decide the genre or style of writing you want to focus on and start setting goals in that specific area.
Unfortunately, there is no point at which you are certifiably “accomplished.” There are no certifications or diplomas that directly state you have managed to do something big and important with your life as a writer. It’s up to you to decide those metrics for yourself.
Not everyone is willing to assign goal posts to their own life, which is why it’s hard for a lot of writers — especially aspiring writers new to their craft — to stay motivated. They may have an end goal, but without some sense of what they really hope to accomplish, there’s no reason to keep pressing on when things get tough.
I personally think a writer who has worked consistently for many years to refine their skills and create content, has built up a loyal audience of any size, has a body of published work to display, and can be considered, with proof, highly knowledgeable about a particular subject (notice I did not say “expert”) has accomplished more than many ever will. And that matters.
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Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.