Media Shower writer Matthew MacDonald is well-known for his work in food, travel, and education.

Success in writing shouldn’t be measured in bylines and prompt publication checks at first. Those things are nice but when you’re starting out, success in writing should be measured in small victories.

marathon runner

Little races help you train for those marathons.

How It (Almost) Ended For Me

It was 2013. Up until that point, I had managed to place in a few writing contests, helped countless friends with their English homework, and had suffered the joy of creating content for someone else’s website for just the byline. I decided early on to look at these experiences as small victories. Sure, having to do work that you don’t get credit for (let alone a paycheck) will get old rather quickly, but these experiences kept enough gas in the tank to get me to the next writing opportunity.

Eventually, I entered my 30’s as the married father of a young family. It didn’t take long for me to question if I was doing the right thing with my life since there was so little (monetary) reward. I began to accept the possibility that I was spinning my wheels and that I might be better suited for a different line of work.

Miserable and at a loss, I retreated into the mind-numbing world that social media provides. Because that’s what you do when you’re depressed about your life: You window-shop other people’s lives so you can be jealous of their successes. Right?

The End Was Only the Beginning

In my case, it was the right thing to do. Tumblr was starting to grow in popularity. Commoners (like myself) had begun to embrace the GIF and the general cheek of the Tumblr community was starting to gain popularity with celebrities as well.

One celebrity, in particular, was author Neil Gaiman.

In 2012 he had posted the link to a video for the song, “Young and Lovely” by Jherek Bischoff. In his post, he had said that the video was “the sort of thing that cries out for people to write stories (about) it”. I had ‘liked’ his post and promptly forgot about it until 2013.

Unwilling to face the fact that I might need to grow up and get a real job, I combed through my ‘likes’ until I had found that post and promptly set to work writing the story that I had thought the video was trying to tell. At the end of the evening, I had posted the final product to my blog and in a fit of hubris, I tweeted the link to Mr. Gaiman.

I woke up to this the next morning.

┬áNeil Gaiman had read my story and had liked it enough to retweet it to his followers. I haven’t questioned my choice of profession since then.

Every so often, I’ll take a look at that picture when the solitude of writing gets to be a bit much. It reinforces all of the small victories that I have had along the way and it gives me the resilience to capture the next victory that is waiting for me.

Whether you’re writing content or penning stories for Neil Gaiman, your small victories will help you gain the confidence you need to accomplish those big victories. Interested in more success stories? Have a gander at these.