by | Nov 5, 2016

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in and it will come naturally”— David Frost

Success comes in many forms. There is the obvious, of course: fame and fortune. These things are nice; if I had fortune, I would not be holding down a day job while trying to set up four books to be published next year. But they are not necessarily the only markers.

Sometimes, success comes in small packages, from places that you didn’t expect it. I’ve written fanfic most of my life, starting back when NBC cancelled Star Trek and I was so desperate for new stories that I wrote my own. Several years back, I wrote a small piece that was an exercise in protagonist vs. antagonist without high drama, where the protagonist loses an internal struggle against the antagonist, surrendering a small boundary that kept her from fully allowing herself to be in love with him. Because I didn’t want to create a whole world for this, I grabbed two characters from a British detective series who are not a couple in the show, but whom a segment of fans love to pair. This gave me ready-made characters, but a reasonably blank canvas for what I wanted to do.

I wrote and edited, the final piece being just under 1,700 words, then posted it up on Archive of Our Own, where many fic writers post their stuff. The few people who support that pairing commented, pressed the “kudos” button almost immediately, and I moved on to the next thing, pleased with how the exercise had gone.

A few weeks later, an email popped into my box one morning with a cheery, “You’ve got kudos!” I love those emails; they mean someone liked something I wrote. This one was for that story with a rare pairing in an obscure fandom. Made me smile and gave me a lift for the day.

A few weeks after that, another kudos email for this story appeared in my inbox. And another a few weeks after that. And again and again. For four years, a note that someone read and enjoyed this small piece has appeared in my email every few weeks.

I’ve had stories on that site which have received far greater numbers of hits in shorter periods of time, but I count this as one a success. It was written for no other reason than my own satisfaction and posted only because so few stories are posted in that fandom that a new one is always welcome by its mere existence.

Love what you are writing today. Do your words for their own sake. There will be time to consider marketability later. But also know that the satisfaction of success sometimes comes from what you did only for the love of the thing.

Word Count Goal Today: 8,335