Regardless of which story you believe, one thing is certain. Van Gogh killed himself at age 37, believing himself a failure.
Today he’s known as one of the most prolific artists of all time.
By van Gogh’s standards, I know plenty of artists who achieved more “success” than him in their lifetimes who will never be famous. I know bands that play at local establishments and sell CDs of their work. Artists who have sold work and been commissioned to do more. Authors who have sold more than one copy of their books, who have multi-book deals. Heck, I fall into that category.
I don’t know if any of us will ever be famous. And, while I can’t speak for everyone else, I don’t feel like a failure. I don’t measure my success by number of sales. Sure, I’d love that number to be in the millions, but that’s not why I write.
I write because I have stories to tell, themes to explore, concepts to share. I write because I want not to only entertain people, but to get them thinking about their lives and their roles in the world. I write not for notoriety, but for legacy. This is my skill set, and this is what I can leave to the world. Hopefully I’ll leave it a better place than I found it.
For me, success is completing the tasks I set for myself. I wanted to share my words with the world, and I have. That, to me, is success. (click to tweet)
However, if you want to encourage thousands of people to buy my work, well… that’s just icing on the cake. 🙂
I have a new novel, Bleeding Heart, releasing this month. Tuesday, May 19, to be exact. When it is published, I’ll be sharing a story that’s important to me, because it is inspired by a story of my grandfather’s heritage. Through this story, I have immortalized his legacy. And I can’t think of anything more successful than that.