It’s hard not to think of J.K. Rowling these days when we imagine what a successful writer looks like. I think of others too – from Faulkner to biographers to really good speechwriters. The great thing about being a writer is that each of us can determine what success means. To me, it means being able to write from your heart, nothing more.
My favorite line of all time – from all of literature, from all the scriptures I’ve read, and from all of the movies I have seen – comes from The Wizard of Oz. It is one of the lines the Wizard says to the Tin Man when he presents him his heart.
Remember, my sentimental friend, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
I am not saying I am the best-loved person in the world. Just yesterday, I was called “vociferous” by one of my Kickstarter backers! But I have determined for myself that if I write from a place of understanding for others, I’m doing pretty well. I feel good about the work I produce and the letters I write. Other people seem to like them too.
I’ll circle back to points I made in two preceding blog posts, Being Heard and Being Known. To be heard, you must be known; and to be known, you must know and reveal yourself. This is the secret to all good writing … a journal, a letter to your children, a cookbook series or your request for a promotion. If you know why you’re writing and you reveal yourself, you will succeed.