My father was a steelworker who finished high school at night but he was a man who loved books and writing. When I published my first book, he was dying but he carried that book to the hospital and told all the nurses and anyone who would listen that his daughter wrote the book. Amazingly, I sold more books than the advance and actually made some money, also seeing the book serialized in a newspaper. Remember this was in 1972.
His advice is something I've carried all my life. "Aim for the stars but if you only hit the garden fence you've tried."
What does this mean for a writer? It's about dreams and possibilities. A NY Times best seller. A movie contract. A lot of great reviews. Any of these may seem like the stars. For me, it's knowing people are buying and reading my books. Occasionally there's a review from someone I don't know who liked my book.
I rather think while I've aimed for the stars I have hit the garden fence but every time I think that, I know my father's pride in me is one of the things that keeps me going.
It's also about working every day to put those words on paper and not giving up no matter how many rejection slips collected. So aim for the stars and know no matter where you land, you've tried.