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How to Get Famous

How do you get famous? How do you judge that you’re successful? Is it just getting published or is it something more? Does it count if you’re published online? What about just a blog? Or an E-zine? What exactly is the standard to judge by?

I have no idea.

Seriously. No clue.

It’s just too big a question. There are too many variables and details and random interjections. I prefer to keep it simple. I like to know that people like my stories. I like to hear it from them, but that’s not always the best way. People will say all sorts of things they don’t mean or only mean at the time. It’s human nature to be polite to the person you’re talking to. Especially if they’re being creative. I think the whole creative thing is so widely believed to be horribly difficult and everyone wants to be supportive. So everyone will be supportive even if they don’t like it personally. It’s a pain.

With that being the way most things are I like to judge on a different scale. I like to think my stories have been successful if the reader remembers them later. Maybe not the whole story, maybe just a line. After all, isn’t that how music and movies get successful? We catch ourselves singing a few choice lines when we’re bored, or quoting the one-liners to each other at work. We describe a good scene to a buddy that hasn’t seen it yet, or tell a friend they have to hear this new song.

I like to think the same thing holds for writing. We quote from Poe, or Tolkien, or recite our favorite lines from Longfellow or Milton. Isn’t that how we judge? Mark Twain wouldn’t be half so famous if he wasn’t so eminently quotable. Sure, he was a great write, but so was Jack London. Some would even argue that London’s stories were more approachable to outsiders but London was never as glib as Twain. He never cut as wide a character or spread as many quotes. Almost everyone has heard some qwip or joke Twain made.

I love to hear people quote from something I’ve writte, or turn it back on me. I wrote a blog post months ago about trying to call people ‘mugs’ more often and for days afterward people made jokes about my mug. I loved it. When people talk about my stories, quoting them or even just complaining, it really makes me happy. Because that means they’ve read it. They remember it and they’ve spent time thinking about what I’ve read. Maybe not a lot of time, but I’m not greedy, they don’t have to spend all their free time thinking about my work, but they spent a little and that’s all I ask. That’s all I need to feel like a successful writer.