So, Are You Successful Yet?

When I was in high school, my Senior English teacher asked one of those questions that seemed provocative at the time, but was really just her pointing out how we were all sleepwalking through our lives since we hadn’t really ever thought about anything substantial. The question was something along the lines of: What is success?

It being the ’80s, we all whipped out our TI Scientific calculators to help us reach the dollar figure it would take to buy the moon and Fiji. I can’t even remember what I said or thought, of course. I mean, high school was a looooooong time ago. I DO know that not long after, she assigned a poem to me to memorize. This one. Ouch.

So, I must have said something annoying, right?

But, last night, I was talking to my husband about what I wanted from my writing, if and when I ever actually get a book published. (Yeah, I guess that would now be an important part of what I need to be successful. Hoo boy.) Here’s pretty much what I said:

I don’t really dream about getting on those lists. You know, the award-winning ones, like the Texas Bluebonnet lists, the Newbery Honors. (You can stop laughing now. Jeeesh.)

What I dream about is a whole lot of kids reading my books in inappropriate places – church, school assemblies, the dinner table – and laughing so hard they get in trouble. Kids spending nights up late under the covers with a flashlight reading my words, kids handing my book on to their best friends the instant they’re done because it’s so freaking hilarious. Parents saying, “Oh, Lordy, is your kid reading that trash, too? It’s such a shame –  these kids have no taste – but at least he’s reading.” I dream of offending a thousand parents, and delighting tens of thousands of kids.

I want to fill the world with kids’ laughter.

Okay. That’s my secret dream. What’s yours? How will you know, Writer Friends, if you’ve been successful at your chosen work? If you’re as far away from high school as I am, I bet you don’t even think once about a dollar figure.

Posted in Miscellaneous on 03/23/2010 12:31 pm


  1. Throughout my entire childhood and teen years, when I was reading a book I loved, I would put it under my pillow at night, hoping the story would fill my dreams. Someday, I hope a kid will put one of my books under his/her pillow.


  2. Oh, so true, Nikki. So. Very. True. No dollar signs dance in my eyelids — well, not big ones anyway. I’d love for a kid to read a novel I’d written and say, “Wow, those characters felt real.” If it was a picture book I’d written, I’d want them to say, “Read it again!”


    • Nikki Loftin

      Yeah, that would be nice. Then again, Drew yelled “read it again” for the hippo that laid the Easter eggs. You remember? He laughed his booty off. Seriously, he watched the YouTube of the worst PB in the world four times.


  3. Oh my gosh, I totally want to see kids reading your books in church 🙂 I can already picture it!


  4. I love your dream, and I think you write those kind of books. May lots of kids sneak your books into church! As for me, I want to write a book that makes somebody cry. So far, I’ve got four paragraphs and an idea for the tear-jerker, so you can see I’ve a long way/years to go. Before that dream, I agree that making somebody laugh is a great goal.


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