A big thank you to you, Ashley, for allowing me this slot on your blog! I knew what I wanted to say as soon as you offered; it was a post I wanted to do from my own blog. I hope you all like it!
I was sat in my PE theory class the other day and I had to go over terminologies for the upcoming exam. One of them was SMART. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. I realised that this can be applied to writing. I also realised that Measurable was something that wasn't as easily adapted.
How do you measure writing?
Word count? Drafts? Profits? Published works? Sales? Different people have different ideas about this.
Some believe that they need to have a mahoosive word count to call it a success. Others disagree. Take short stories and flash fiction, for example; they have small word counts but often touch us just as much as a full scale novel.
Having multiple drafts, each (supposedly) better than the previous, is another way people measure writing. But let's face it; most of us get bored after the first couple of drafts. If that really was the way we measured our writing success then some Authors wouldn't be all that successful.
A touchy subject is profits. It is widely acknowledged that most writers don't make a living on writing. (Although not as widely accepted!) The profit margins aren't huge in most cases and the author isn't rolling in wonga. Does this mean they failed? Absolutely not.
So is it how much work you've had published? Is it sales? Well...no. You could write one book and it could sell millions. Your neighbour could write a series and never sell more than 500 copies.
If none of these are the answer, what is?
In my eyes, it's how many people you have touched with your words. It's how many people cling onto your plot as if it is a lifeline; drink in your descriptions like someone dying of thirst; well up as your protagonist takes a death defying leap of faith. Those are the people you truly connect with. There's no point smashing sales figures when half of your customers thought it was just 'alright'.
If you can make someone fall in love with your words over and over again— your writing has succeeded.
That is how I measure writing.
Do you agree? Maybe you have a different viewpoint. Whatever your answer, share it with us!