This Writing Life
Writer and psychologist.
View all posts by Ian Hocking
I think ‘success’ is a concept which varies from one person to another and purely depends on what drives you. I hesitate to comment on this to a psychologist but for me it was when I started having enough confidence to put my doodles and daubs online and then started receiving comments from people in other countries. It lead to small press comics work which was even greater recognition for me seeing my work on paper. I’ve never been paid for any of it and am never expecting to either. It isn’t my day-job and that means I get to chose when I do it and how (no I will NOT draw an illustration for band album covers for free; leave me be, you chancers). So for me it is the fact that other people have recognised I exist and enjoyed my work — that was the mark of success for me.
If, however, you want your vocation to be your profession then you are bound to assess your progress with the markers of professional life — remuneration, awards, sales figures, downloads, mentions on social networks etc.
As an artist, success is also defined on comparing your intent and skill with the finished article — does it match or even exceed your initial plans? Is it skillful; is it aesthetically pleasing in structure; is the language fine; does it have something to say, etc etc?
At the end you could quite easily consider yourself a success in some areas and less so in others. Most artists, whether verbal or visual, tend to be rather critical of themselves in the question of whether they produced a good piece of art and that is what drives them to try again, and again.
By some of the standards I’ve posted above you are very successful, although you may think otherwise!
Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth! All good points. I do wonder whether ‘success’ is defined correctly for a given person (including me). That’s the difficulty, I guess.
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