I do a fair bit of writing in my spare time. So much so that if I had made any serious money from writing I would consider myself a writer. As it is, I just consider myself a freelance writer. I do have a book out, and hope to have another one out soon however. So, I guess, I really can call myself a writer.
One thing that every writer out there wants, what every creative artist wants, be they writer, drawer, musician, or any form of art, is to create a magnum opus; That one piece that will go down in history as the greatest thing they ever made. Their best ever work, compared to which everything else they did just doesn't stack up. It's something that drives us and something that we strive towards.
For the longest time I thought that perhaps I had already achieved that. I wrote something that was spectacular and was received very positively. Something so brimming with emotion that people couldn't finish it because it was just such a barrage on their emotions. Admittedly that's a bit of a downside, but you get my point. It was truly the greatest thing I had ever written. It depressed me a little to think that I had already achieved the pinnacle of my potential. That's when I had a conversation with my friend about it, and they made me think, and what I thought is what I'm going to say now; the same thing I wrote as the title to this; your magnum opus does not exist.
You don't get to decide that something is your magnum opus and really it's something that shouldn't be decided until you're dead. Something for people who look back at your work to decide. You should always try and outdo yourself, and never settle for what you might feel is your best. Always strive to improve on your last work. If you feel that you have written your magnum opus, then read through it and see why. Take from it what made it great, and make your next piece even better.
If you reach what you feel is your creative peak then go a little higher any way you can. Even if all you can do is a little jump. If you really think you can't improve then, congratulations, everything you write will be a hit and you can live off your stories forever. That's a dream that is far more attainable than writing your greatest ever work. That little thing you threw away because you didn't think it was good enough might be discovered long after you're gone, and resonate with someone in such a way they argue it's your greatest work.
Write, create, do whatever it takes to improve yourself. Most of all, keep creating!