Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What Are Our Goals As Writers?

What are our goals as writers? What gives us a feeling of success? Do we all expect to grow rich and famous? Thinking about the Insecure Writer's Support Group started me asking those questions to myself.

If we set goals, we writers will feel more secure. How many books do we intend to write? One a year? Three?

Self-publishing, once a blight to the writer's career, is now fully accepted and thriving. Perhaps we can have even better careers if we control every aspect of them ourselves. Or perhaps self-publishing will drive us crazy and into leading non-productive lives. It's something to consider as we jot down our goals.

Success as a writer. Is it a publishing contract? That's a beginning. How about a first book signing? That's pretty exciting especially if people come by and actually buy your books. Is it a speaking engagement? That gives you the opportunity to share what you've learned with others and can be a win/win situation for your career as a writer.

Daddy's Christmas AngelHow about winning an award in a writing contest? Yesterday, I received a letter telling me that I had won third place in the National Federation of Press Women's Communication Contest in the Novels for Adult Readers category. I was happy because Daddy's Christmas Angel, for which the award will be given, is a book of my heart. Earlier this year my book won first place in the Virginia Press Women's Communication contest and was sent on to National. I probably will not attend the awards banquet in Salt Lake City, Utah in August to receive the award, but it feels like success when your work is appreciated and recognized by others.

Do we expect to become rich and famous? Probably at one time or another we all expect and hope to have exceptional monetary success. Obviously, that will happen to very few. There are just so many books out there and the competition is tremendous. Still, there are some who will have amazing success. Sometimes, for unexpected reasons a book will catch fire and make fantastic numbers of sales.

We cannot count on that or even expect it to happen. We can, however, lift a glass of champagne for the little successes along the way. A glowing book review, a new contract, a nice royalty check, a contest win, the bright smile of a reader telling you how much he/she enjoyed your book, a thoughtful comment from a reader of your blog. These are goals you can expect to obtain.

Live in the moment and enjoy them! That's a great goal to have...

Thank you, Alex Cavanaugh, Sheena-kay Graham, Suzanne Furness, and Laura Eno 
for co-hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group this month.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

It means something different for all of us. Becoming a professional speaker is where I felt success the most.

Congrats on placing so well in those contests.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Diane. Being a professional speaker must be very rewarding!

Suzanne Furness said...

I totally agree with your sentiments - raise a glass of bubbly to the small achievements along the way. Massive success, fame and fortune only happens to a few but that doesn't mean we can't all be successful in our own right. Nice to meet you through the group.

IWSG co-host

Shalanna said...

My purpose in writing stories (novels, mostly) has always been to be heard--to reach those I would never otherwise reach with my voice or during my lifetime. I have always hoped that my book would be sitting on a shelf (or waiting for a download, wink) when someone who needs its message/philosophy/theme right then comes along and picks it up or downloads it to read. This person may be younger or older, in the future or in the present, but whoever the person is, he or she needs to hear what I have to say with this book, needs to be entertained with witty banter, needs to commiserate with the dilemmas and celebrate the happinesses of my characters. This person can experience vicariously a hot-air balloon ride, hear about someone's fairy godfather, work on perfecting the Schubert Moments Musical, and do whatever my characters do . . . it's a tour of my mind in my voice that no one else can give them, and I like to think it can enrich their lives and make them happy for a moment and then for several moments as they think on these issues and ideas I have brought to them. That has always been my goal, and that is why I often resist making my books into action movie screenplays. I like to leave in the parts that made the books I have loved throughout my life into "keepers." I haven't thought much about temporal success, although my family and friends are quite fixated on the dollar; I do know that money is the way most people keep score, and the way they judge your work's quality, at least initially, so I guess I should at least TRY to do a popular book so my other books can have a chance at being checked out. What if no one were keeping score? (Grin) If I serve art (Art) (whatever), that should be enough (but it probably isn't.)

Mary Montague Sikes said...

A glass of bubbly is good, Suzanne! Success in our own right is a good thing! Thanks for visiting.

Shalanna, I cherish the opportunity to make a difference in someone's lift. Your thoughts are right on. Sadly, the score is kept on money earned, not people changed! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Everything that's happened so far has been a small success and I've just enjoyed the ride!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

That's wonderful, Alex. You have created a band of dedicated followers, and that means a lot if you never have another success. But, of course, you will!

Dawn Embers said...

An interesting post. It sure made me think. While my main goal is to have copies of my books available for others to read and enjoy, I am not into the self publish route at this point. I'm not against it but it doesn't feel like the right path at this time for what I have in the works. But it works great for others. There are so many different goals in this journey. Right now, I just want to finish editing my novel and be ready to submit to agents soon.

Good post for today.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

From what I read on the Internet, self-publishing is not an easy road. However, you have your publishing life in your own hands and that can be a good thing!

M. J. Joachim said...

Goals and dreams are so necessary. Congratulations on your award.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, M. J. I think I'll start a Gathering Book for painting goals and document projects there. We need goals!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Congrats Monty!

What a lovely way to be appreciated and recognized for all your hard work.

You put yourself out there all the time, and that is what is necessary for success as well.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Michael!