My sister, who is a painter, and I were talking the other day about what constitutes success for us as artists. We were both trying to understand how to balance the creative process (the interior world of the mind) with the reaction to your art in the world (financial remuneration or critical praise). Don't read this missive thinking I have the answer to this question, but we did kick it around for a while.
Both of us felt that the happiness of making art, being in the actual moment of creating and feeling like you're in the flow, is an awful important part of being successful. We also acknowledged that sometimes you can feel like you are really on to something, that you are making something that is fabulous, and the next day that same piece of writing can so not work.
Neither of us could figure out the role of outward success. I feel that this part of being a writer has become less important to me as I get older, but maybe I'm fooling myself, or maybe my slight success is enough for me, or maybe it will change again. I guess that I feel more in control of the inward success, that it is more possible to control my own attitude toward my writing by working mainly on stuff that really grabs me.
Those are my thoughts for this day, a bitterly cold, bright sunshiny day in Minnesota.