A writer I much admire, Dean Wesley Smith, wrote an inspirational blog recently about dreams and goals (you can read it here), and it got me thinking. He just finished a year of writing (and publishing as part of his Smith’s Monthly magazine) a novel a month for 12 months, something that few of us would ever dream of doing. It was a goal he set for himself, and he completed it. Not only that, he has decided to continue his novel-a-month production schedule for another four years. He’ll have 60 novels then; more than many writers could imagine writing in a lifetime.
And I have no doubt he will do it. He’s been writing for decades and isn’t the kind of guy to make those kinds of public statements unless he plans to deliver (and he’s already 20% there!).
But it got me thinking about my own dreams and goals, and maybe I’m not thinking big enough, or looking/planning far enough into the future. Like many ‘baby writers’, I’m still working on trying to ‘make it’ as a full time writer. Hoping to cover my expenses (and health insurance), while still celebrating every sale and positive review.
Writing is flat the best job I’ve ever had. In five years, I haven’t earned enough to pay my monthly cable bill (yet), but I love working for myself, I love the writing, I love the publishing, and I cannot imagine myself ever doing anything else. So for me, I need to get a longer view, because unless I give up (which I cannot imagine ever doing), I will eventually start making a living with my writing. I know this.
This is my first full year of writing to a publishing schedule. I won’t quite meet the production schedule I planned for myself (18 new titles (versus a plan of 24) published at the end of the year, including 2.5 novels) , and my goal for next year was to ‘do better’.
But that’s short sighted. Instead, inspired by Dean’s example, I took a look at where I wanted to be. While I don’t aspire to (nor am I capable of) his prodigious production, I made a new set of writing goals for myself that (when I look at delivering to them over the next four years) I am reasonably confident will not only pay me a living salary, but get me a lot further down the road of a career writer.
So here is the list of my production goals through 2019, based on what I actually produced this year:
– writing 2.5 novels per year will result in 14-15 completed novels by the end of 2019
– writing 6 short stories per year will result in 36 short stories and 7 short story collections by the end of 2019
– writing 1 novella per year will result in 5 novellas by the end of 2019
Or in other words, by the end of 2019 I will have some 50-55 titles published. And like Dean, I know I can do this, I’m already 20% there!
Wow. I’d be a real writer then, for sure.
So when it comes to dreams and goals as a writer, take the long view. I bet you’ll wow yourself, too.