Like most creative professions the question of a qualified success in writing is not easy to concentrate into one definitive answer.
Just as there are a multitude of writing styles, so too are there many examples of writing success.
1. "If I can just finish my first story, I will have success."
2. "If I can just work up the courage to submit this to a publisher, I will have success."
3. "If I can actually receive a check in the mail for a magazine article, I will have success."
4. "If I can just publish my first book, I will have success."
5. "If I can just have my book published by a major publisher, I will have success."
6. "If I can just get my book in the bestseller list, I will have success."
7. "If I can just keep up with all the writing work I have been commissioned to do, I will have success."
8. "If I can only be thought of in the same way as other literary giants, I will have success."
"The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach." Lin Yu-t'ang
There is a difference between contentment and complacency. In the first case, we learn to be happy in the circumstances we find ourselves in. In the second case, you simply settle for where you are without an interest in doing something more.
"A man will never be content with what he wants until he is content with what he has." - Bill Gothard
As writers we should always reach for our best. It is a good idea to set a small attainable goal for the short term with perhaps a one and six year plan in place for where we would like to be. This goal can be readjusted annually.
The problem many writers have is they set their goals so high they may not be able to reach them, or they make the goal sacrosanct they miss out on life in pursuit of the goal. Should they actually reach the goal, the effect of reaching the pinnacle often serves as a pin to pop an inflated balloon. For some, the ultimate goal they have chosen leaves them feeling hollow because they never understood the need for contentment. Once the 'ultimate goal' is realized the author has nothing more to look forward to and they struggle through issues related to their overall motivation.
By learning the fine art of contentment while refusing to be complacent will serve you well as you wrestle with issues of personal writing success.