We self-published writers like to read sometimes about our compatriots that have been successful or hit the 'big time.' This is often acknowledged as occurring when many, many books are sold, when the author makes one of the benchmark book lists like the New York Times Bestseller List, and becomes a household name--at least among writers. Some writers want it more than others.
I was interested to read a post by Hugh Howey, one of self-publishing's successes, using the above described list as a measure. But Hugh pays homage to his most meaningful times not as the ones that garnered fame and fortune but rather those which later became the inspiration for his novels. The times when his life was rich in experiences, not particularly in cash, and life was a wondrous experience. Read his post here.
For Hugh Howey, it was the writing part that was glorious.