Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts on Success

Ever since I was given the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, and once the children were in school, the time and energy to pursue my writing, I've been trying to understand why it is that I have no interest in the whole publishing game.

I've written. I've written volumes. Novels and a writing book and reams of poetry...and of course, pages and pages of journal stuff. But I have absolutely no interest in sending it out.
Friends and family have read my work, and when they have finished, I am always asked, "Are you trying to get this published? You really should, you know."

And I always want to ask, "Why?"

I used to think that maybe the reason I didn't want to send it out was fear...fear of rejection, fear of failure...but I have sent stuff out, and honestly, it's no big deal. I am well aware that the publishing business is purely market driven, and that what sells is what The Herd likes to read. Unfortunately for my future as a "professional" writer, the only person I have any interest in satisfying with my writing is myself.

Artistic success, as this culture seems to define it, is only important if you hold what other people think to be more valid than your own soul's truth.

Or maybe if you have any interest in where your next meal is coming from...

Writing Prompt: How do you define success? By your own definition, do you consider yourself successful?


Gianna said...

I would stop asking myself the question why and instead glorify in your satisfaction and be profoundly grateful that you are an artist who need not starve as well.

To write for one's own pleasure and be satisfied is lovely...exquisite really.

susan said...

Jazz. if I couldn't write I would die. I need to write as much as I need to breathe.

I understand where you are coming from here. I always felt I did shoddy work when I got paid for it.

As for my novels, I have dreams that someone will find them long after I am gone and I will win lots of posthumous awards . I cannot handle that while I am alive I don't think.

Jazz said...

You are right, of course!
I should just be happy with what I have and quit questioning myself! I think part of it is that I feel like I ought to be thinking about that whole "And what have you done with your life?" thing...has to do with being raised to strive for goals and accomplishments and bright shiny prizes, I guess. And realizing that bright shiny prizes don't necessarily make people happy.

Jazz said...


We have much in common!

Like you, I also feel that if I could not write I would die. It is so much a part of who I am and how I process the events of my life.

I am not sure if I could handle the things that would come with commerically successful writing, either!

Marissa Miller said...

OMG, Jazz. I just wrote about success and failure today. lol! Great minds think alike. :)

Dr.Rutledge said...

We are thrilled to share with you that we’ve just announced the release of our new to the world, and we’d love to invite you to join us in making health knowledge personal (there’s no cost and no extra work for you). We remain very interested in connecting you and your blog to our more than 2 million monthly visitors because we feel that your writing can really make a positive impact on their lives. We’d love to add a link to your blog in our Notable WellSites section, and/or to invite you to join our world leading Health Blogger Network of more than 1,200 of the web’s leading health bloggers.
Today, we are announcing the new release to a select group of health bloggers. This release marks the launching of the next generation of online health by making health knowledge personal -- and it's writers like you that help make this possible. Together, we will revolutionize the way people find health information, answers and support, and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
Our invitation-only Health Blogger Network has quickly become the highest-quality, largest, fastest-growing network on the Internet. Bloggers just like you are enjoying access to Wellsphere’s millions of visitors, greatly expanded readership, and links back to their blog from each and every post. If you’d like to join our Health Blogger Network, simply reply to this email to let us know. Again, there is no cost and no extra work for you – we can automatically republish the blog posts you’ve already written to the appropriate communities and in our groundbreaking WellPages- powered by our Health Knowledge EngineTM.
Here’s what our health bloggers have to say about being part of our network:
“I am honored to become a part of the HealthBlogger Network on Wellsphere. I am excited at the opportunity to share my thoughts on improving health and well being with a wider audience and look forward to promoting healthier lives and healthier living.”
- Kristi Dyer, MD
“Wellsphere offers great promotion and a friendly atmosphere. It allows you to show your talents and share your insight with others.”
- Lisa Robertson,
“Great gobs of good information efficiently delivered to all the people who need it most! I love it”
- Judy Paley, MD
“Joining the HealthBlogger Network was a great move. The traffic to the site has increased, too! It’s well worth getting on board if you can.”
- Jeff A.
You can read more about the Health Bloggers Network at
Because we’re impressed by your writing, even if you’re not sure about joining our network right away, we can start out by adding a link to your blog in our Notable WellSites section - connecting our millions of visitors to your blog. If you’re interested in joining our Health Bloggers Network, or in being listed as a “Notable Wellsite” on our WellPages and linking to that WellPage in your blogroll, please just reply to this email and let me know.
We have received many requests for a sneak peek at the press release that we’re preparing to send to the media later this week. I’ve pasted a preview copy below. Please feel free to email me back or call me at any time.
Good Health,
Geoffrey Rutledge, MD, PhD
Wellsphere launches next generation health website – Health Knowledge Made Personal!
Wellsphere, the fastest-growing top 10 health website has just launched its groundbreaking solution for finding expert health knowledge and personal support. The new Wellsphere introduces “WellPages,” comprehensive, personalized webpages that connect people with the best health knowledge from experts, doctors, patients and healthy living professionals – providing immediate answers to their specific health questions.
Every WellPage is powered by Wellsphere’s cutting edge, proprietary Health Knowledge EngineTM. Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, Wellsphere’s Chief Information Officer, a Stanford Computer Science PhD and former Harvard Medical School faculty member, told reporters today that the new Health Knowledge Engine understands people’s everyday health questions, instantly translates them into medical terminology, finds the most relevant, credible knowledge, and presents it all on a single, user-friendly WellPage. “Each WellPage provides users with a comprehensive set of articles carefully selected from leading medical experts, researchinstitutions, healthy living professionals and other trusted health writers so users don’t have to visit multiple websites to find answers to their health questions. WellPages also provide a rich user experience by combining health information with relevant, informative videos and amazing medical images which are not found on any other consumer health site.” said Dr. Rutledge.
Wellsphere has seen tremendous growth in traffic in the last few months to a rate of more than 2 million monthly unique visitors, with more visitors discovering the new website daily. “Listening to users in our supportive online communities, we realized that they are not satisfied with the information about their condition or symptom that generic health websites or encyclopedia provide. What they’re really looking for is a credible, one-stop-shop where they can quickly get a personal perspective on their specific health issues – from medical experts and fellow patients. A 26-year old mother of two recently diagnosed with breast cancer is looking for different kinds of information and support than a 74-year old grandmother facing a seemingly similar diagnosis. We wanted to make sure that each of these individuals could easily find expert medical information that’s relevant to them, as well connect with other patients and health writers with similar experiences” said CEO Ron Gutman.
WellPages offer a comprehensive perspective on millions of health topics by drawing from hundreds of thousands of articles written by Wellsphere’s network of 1,200 rigorously selected health writers and experts who dedicate their writing to helping others improve their lives. Many of the leading medical minds from Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale and other top Medical Institutions are currently sharing their knowledge alongside patients who bravely share their journeys through stories, pictures, videos, and personal discussions. Patients can also connect in any of Wellsphere’s more than 100 new health communities to share advice and support one another.
To experience the new Wellsphere, visit
About Wellsphere
Wellsphere, the fastest growing health technology company, is based in San Mateo, CA. Wellsphere develops web and mobile technologies that help millions of people live healthier, happier lives by providing a free consumer health website at, and by building online health platforms for large organizations.

superlagirl said...

Maybe it's the exhibitionist in me, but I always have an audience in mind when I write. Journaling, to me, feels like therapy rather than art, which is not to say that it isn't incredibly valuable. When I draw, I always think of it as therapy, never art, because it isn't meant for others' eyes.

I mean, when I dance in my living room, is that exercise or art? It's certainly different than dancing on stage.

I don't know. These are just thoughts on my own work. I would never tell someone they aren't an artist just because they don't have an audience.

Jazz said...

I wonder if the difference between "play" and "art" or "exercise" and "art" comes more from the intention you bring to the work rather than what you are actually doing?

Or maybe it isn't up to us to decide if it's art or not...maybe art is in the eye of the beholder. I don't know. I've seen works that have been done in the name of therapy that I would call art...and I've seen works that have been done in the name of art that I would call absolute maybe it's a combination of intention and audience...what do you think?

I'll have to think more on this...maybe there's a new post brewing somewhere in here!

Jazz said...

Obviously, great minds do think alike! ;)

naturalgal said...

Hi Jazz,

I agree with Superlagirl, she said," Maybe it's the exhibitionist in me, but I always have an audience in mind when I write. Journaling, to me, feels like therapy rather than art, which is not to say that it isn't incredibly valuable. ."

I like writing for specific audience. Writing style changes depending on the audience.

I know that many great writers have been rejected and that I shouldn't care what other people think.... but I can't help it. If I know people are reading what I write.... it makes me feel successful.

Journaling usually backfires on me. It just stirs me up. It doesn't help me come to a resolution of my feelings.

I am not saying that this is how you should feel, or my way is correct. But having an audience is very important to me. Making a difference. Working as and agent of change. Those things make me feel valuable.

It is almost like the old phrase..."If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it did it make a noise?"

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
When I had my first book published, it was the greatest feeling in the world. There was no such thing as the blogosphere so if I wanted to be read, I had to be published.

I've since has three more books published, and it was quite thrilling.

However, these days I get more satisfaction from blogging--perhaps because of the immediacy of the response--than from publishing.

And I think I'll self-publish my next book because then I can write it without any outside input, and sell it and market it as I please.