It's been a while since I wrote (and these are words which will count towards my Nano total! Nyah!) and this post has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while. When it comes to success, what is better? Talent or popularity?
Obviously, the key here is to define what "success" means to you. If being successful means making lots of money, then it's hands down popularity. If you're not popular, you will not make money. Ergo... popularity wins.
If being successful means being fulfilled personally, then I think talent would win... but only by a narrow margin. After all, it's good to read something of yours and think, "Wow, that's really good." But it's pretty fulfilling knowing that people bought and read something YOU made. It validates your time expenditure.
If being successful means critical success, ie good reviews? Then definitely talent. There are some talented as fuck writers out there who aren't making money, yet all of their reviews are glowing... and they aren't even bought reviews either! That sort of writer writes because they want to put something enjoyable to read out into the world.
For me, personally, being successful is a bit of all three. I write because it makes me happy, which fulfills me personally. I would also love to make money and be a critical success, heh. Who wouldn't want all three? The most important part of that equation is simply being happy to write though. I would be writing anyway, regardless if I got paid for it or not. Getting paid and having other people enjoy my stuff is like icing on an already delicious cake.
Really, I know this is a pretty small blog post... but it was an easy question to ask and answer. I think each writer needs to define why they write, and what would make them a success in their own eyes. Becoming popular or talented, now that's another story altogether. Talent takes work, a lot of hard, eye gouging work. But becoming popular takes a lot of dedication, especially on social media. You need to be "real" yet pimp your books, have to interact without getting personal. It's a weird thing.
I may do some more thinking on this, but that's all I've got for now. Still editing Prince of Cups. Will have another update soon.