How will I know that I've 'made it'?
I've asked myself this question several times, and in the past few months I've been asked this on a couple of occasions. in the past year. The first thing that comes to mind is getting a byline in the New York Times. I've been dreaming of that day for a long time. I believe it is possible with hard work, persistence, improvement and a damn good idea.
I have other goals though that are even larger. So perhaps after the NYT, the excitement and pride in my achievement will wear off, the goal post will move, and I will once again return to feeling inadequate in my accomplishments and yearning for greater feats, including:
Being nominated for a Pushcart Prize Appearing in Best American Essays Receiving a PEN America fellowship
Winning the Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest
Winning the First Pages Prize
Receiving a fellowship from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)
Being awarded a Fulbright scholarship for Creative Writing
Receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship (ha)
Winning a Pulitzer Prize (haha)
Being a Nobel Laureate in Literature (hahaha)
Becoming a MacArthur Fellow (hahahaha)
I think the New York Times is achievable in this lifetime. And maybe even The New Yorker. As for the rest, well...we shall see.