Today, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on fame.
I saw a picture online of J.K. Rowling holding up one of her Harry Potter books. It made me stop and think about the challenges and excitements involved in being a writer. What makes her, or Stephen King, or other famous writers so different from you and me?
Honestly, I have no answer for this. Are they better? Maybe. Do they have more experience? Maybe. Do they have more luck? Maybe. But was it all by chance? Or did it require a bit of talent? Possibly some marketing knowledge to land a better position in the publishing world.
I don't know the answer to this one. At least, I don't know the real reasons and the path that their lives have taken. What I do know is that it is possible to achieve their level of success. At the same time, I don't know if I would define their success by using their fame. Sure, it helps sell copies, but I think a successful author is one who can connect with his readers. Someone who reaches out to fans and shakes the hands of new writers in the field. Someone who remains down to earth and goes to the local library for small-scale book signings. Someone who can keep their roots in plain sight, no matter where their career might take them.
I think that in order to judge your own success, you can't compare yourself to these stars. Landing in the same plane might not make you happy, and for most, it is not realistic anyway. There are thousands of deserving artists out there, and only a few slots in the public eye. The real judge of your writing career shouldn't be how often you end up in the paper. Instead, it should be on how well you connected with your readers.