Well, first off, what in the world are you thinking when I say ‘great’? And for the sake of my blog’s running theme, we’ll go with great in the world of writing, though you can play around in your own pool of artistry. Do you mean great like Shakespeare? Timeless, the figurehead of art, etc? Or do you mean great like Lovecraft, Patterson, Rowling, or any of those other best-sellers that are still referred to as the symbol of their book genre? Or do you mean great in the eyes of your readers?
And why do you want to be great in the first place? To feel like you’re actually worth something? To feel like your art wasn’t just a waste of time your whole life, dedicated to the shrine of your anxiety and ‘genius’?
Before you can go anywhere in achieving this, you need to decide what you mean by greatness and why you want it. Greatness comes in many forms, and is not held down by anyone’s definition. If you’re chasing after it because you think it will help you achieve happiness or selfworth in the eyes of others or yourself, you’re going in somewhat of a right direction, but you’re not going to get anything for it. What I mean by that is, well, getting a lot of praise for something isn’t going to fix whatever it is that drives you onwards. Those of ambition keep going and going till they die. Elvis, King Henry, Alexander the Great, Tom Wayne, you name it. Art and success in that medium isn’t the true path to happiness or self-fulfillment.
Thus, if you’re doing it for the above reasons, you should probably quit now. While your ambition will get you where you want to go, you’re still not going to get what it is you really want.
Now, if you want to become great in such a way that you and others just simply enjoy your work, then we’re getting somewhere. This is not only achievable, but will bring a sense of satisfaction to your work that you have been craving. Art is meant to be enjoyed after all, and is meant to be a medium as communication. Hard to do that with just yourself, though if that what floats your boat, go for it.
But, no matter what your definition of great is, the key to achieving any of the sort will always be practice, study, and lots of hard work. There’s no quick ten-step to richness course. You got to buckle down for the long journey and be willing to work long hard hours without pay or recognition. And, in the end, not even that guarantees that you’ll be any good. You won’t know if you’re any good even when you die, and if you have to know, then just don’t do it. Don’t write.
Because that’s not to point to writing anyways.