*Originally posted August 10, 2009.
The irony of this poster is that writers ONLY get paid when they believe in the power of their dreams. Heheheh.
I've been thinking today about goals.
Many writers (and normal people) find it difficult to be satisfied in life unless they know when they'll be able to say "I'm successful." Many of us also find it hard to get started if we don't have something to aim for, and become saddened if we're not sure if we've arrived.
We have to ask ourselves some questions to determine what we want, and how we'll know when we've got it. If we don't, we'll either be too overwhelmed to begin chasing our dreams, or too unrealistic about what will really make us happy. Unrealistic expectations, even ones you put on yourself, SUCK.
So, let me pose a few questions that every writer should probably ask themselves:
1) Why am I writing?
2) How long do I want to do this, even if I never get any credit or money from my work?
3) How much rejection can I take?
4) How much time do I want to spend on my goals, versus with my family, friends, and pillow?
5) What do I want to achieve Big Picture?
6) Will I be satisfied when I get there?
7) Am I satisfied if I never get there?
8) What steps do I have to take to achieve that Big Picture thing?
9) Which one needs to be achieved first?
10) What is my support system?
11) How will I feel if I never achieve this? Is it worth trying anyway?
Here are the answers I've given myself, and what keeps me going (in case it's helpful):
1) Why am I writing? It's my favorite thing to do, and I'm happy when I'm doing it. I'm unhappy when I stop.
2) How long do I want to do this, even if I never get any credit or money from my work? For as long as I possibly can.
3) How much rejection can I take? As much as I need to (be honest here, folks, or you're in for a world of hurt.)
4) How much time do I want to spend on my goals, versus with my family, friends, and pillow? I need to have a balance. I won't be happy meeting my writing goals at the expense of my husband, family, and sweet, sweet sleep. This means I have to make more realistic smaller goals to get to my big goals.
5) What do I want to achieve Big Picture? I want to make enough money to be able to write as a full time job and not starve. This means making about 20-30k. That will be great. Also, I want a Hugo Award.
6) Will I be satisfied when I get there? OH YAH. I don't want to be rich, I just want to have the freedom to write more. And have a rocket statue.
7) Am I satisfied if I never get there? Yes, because no matter what I'll achieve my goal of writing as long as possible. I just won't get to do as much of it per day. Also, maybe I'll get an award after I'm dead. Whatever works.
8) What steps do I have to take to achieve that Big Picture thing? I have to get an agent, have my manuscript sell, promote the crap out of my book, lather, rinse, repeat as many times as possible.
9) Which one needs to be achieved first? I need to find an agent.
10) What is my support system? The awesome people who read my blog (I heart you!), my crit buddies, and my wonderful husband.
11) How will I feel if I never achieve this? Is it worth trying anyway? It will be lame, but I'll still be okay. It is absolutely worth chasing for my entire life. I'll have a blast trying.
The key to getting started and keeping going without driving yourself nuts is creating reasonable goals, and then realizing you'll be satisfied if you meet them or not.
But you have to be willing to keep going as long as it takes. If you're not, then this isn't the business for you and you need to go do something sensible like run a petshop. If so, then chase it with all you've got, and above all enjoy the ride!
*My husband just said he wants me to win two Hugos so we can make bookends. Damn! The pressure! ;)