As a freelance writer there are a number of ways you can define success. Consider the following and see if any of them relate to you.
Financial. Writing may be a passion but your idea of success is to make money from your work. Be it fiction or non fiction you rate success by how much money you have earned. Many writers give up their day jobs to earn money as a writer. It is not enough merely to see your work in print or online . You want to make money from this profession and success will only come when you are earning enough to live on and beyond.
Fame. You want to see your name in print. By doing so you will finally have earned credibility as a writer. However to be successful you may want more than that. You want your book to sell well and earn you celebrity status. There are many best selling writers out there and you have seen them enjoy the attention that their writing has given them. You want what they have. To be successful is to be a repeated guest on chat shows. You want to speak at writer conventions. You want to sign autographs. You want to be famous.
Your message. You have something to say to the world. This may be a fantastic story that you believe people will really enjoy reading. It may be that you are passionate about a particular cause and you want to spread the word through your writing. Undoubtedly seeing your writing make a difference in the world is a way of seeing success. Its not about the fame or money for you. Your reward comes from seeing peoples lives change for the better, be that happiness in reading your novel, or a provoked change.
Being published. Fame and fortune may not matter to you. Your goal is to see your work in print. Whether its a novel, e book, article or blog, seeing your words on screen or on the page is rewarding to you. The knowledge that people are reading your work is important. You have made your mark as an author, no matter the monetary returns. Seeing your name attached to something is highly satisfying.
It may be that the way you rate success as a mixture of the above or perhaps something entirely different. As you set out as a writer it is important to know that the way you rate success will not be the same in the publishing world. A lot of publishers are not bothered if you are the next William Shakespeare, JK Rowling, or Stephen King. They are interested in how many books you have sold. Publishers need the book to sell enough copies to cover your advance. They will then be interested in reprinting your book to continue making money. You may have written something dreadful but provided you have made them money you are a success in the eyes of a publisher. You may not feel the same.
Of course you may choose to self publish or work on your own blog or website. This way there will be no compromising with publishers as you set your own rules and boundaries.
As you write, we wish you every success, whatever that means to you.