As I leave my 30th year and find my time to write more limited than ever, it’s crossed my mind that there is a ticking clock over my head.
How many words do I have left? How long do I have to write them? What are my chances of being published–ever? (Okay, I do have a publishing credit to my name, but I want more!) Will I ever be able to call myself an author and not feel like a liar?
These are just some of the questions that run through my mind as I open my blog or WIP and begin to write. I do all this writing, all this researching, and where does it go? I often feel like I’m running uphill, the effort gets harder and harder and when I want to quit, I keep telling myself, “Just to the next street sign. Just a quarter mile more.”
Then last week, this popped up on my feed:
Go ahead, check it out. I’ll wait.
Oh, are you back already?
Anyone else see that floating around the Internet?
Yeah. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Talk about determination and persistence. Forget a ticking clock, this woman decided to make the most of what she had, her health, her time, her abilities, and she ran 100 miles at an age where most people are sitting on their couch watching TV.
I’m 30, soon to be 31, and my goal for many years has been to become an author. What does this mean to me?
Define Your Goals
My goals are two-fold. I want to be a published writer. Which means I need to have both publishing goals and writing goals, broken down below.
Publishing: In order to say whether I have or have not reached my publishing goal, I have to be able to define this goal.
To me, becoming an author means having at least one book published, making money for me. Right now I have a publishing and editing credit in an anthology, and I am at work on a collection of short stories and another novel that I want to publish. Currently, I am planning on self-publishing the short stories, and seeking traditional publishing for the novel, but I think it’ll depend upon how my short stories go as to whether or not to seek traditional publishing.
If this were an analogy to the 100-mile ultra marathon, publishing would be the race.
Writing: To be a successful “writer,” that first means that I have to write. Running 100 miles doesn’t start the day of the race. No, it’s an ultra-marathon that begins the first day you begin training.
In writing, that includes writing short stories, learning about the craft of writing, learning grammar and the definitions of words, and…reading! Yes, that last one will probably make a lot of writers out there happy. Writing includes reading. One of the sure-fire ways to become a better writer is to read others’ writing–good and bad. Reading and writing is never time wasted.
My goal is to write a little bit every day. I’ve tried making a word count goal, but that inevitably ends up with me in a mild depression when I fail to make that goal every day, or when my writing streak comes to an end. As a mother, my writing goal has to be variable. I have to write when I have the time, put aside a nap time to write, or at least twenty minutes at the end of the day. My goal has had to become flexible because parenting is rarely by-the-book. So if I go to sleep having accomplished something on my WIP during the day, I can count this goal achieved.
Those two goals I think about every single day.
In order to achieve your goals, you must consider what you are going to do in order to count them achieved. To self-publish, I must first write, then I can worry about all the details.
Currently, when I don’t have the opportunity to sit and write, but I have a few minutes, I’ll read some blogs or research a bit of information on self-publishing, and so push myself toward my goal a little bit every day.
What do you do every day to work toward your goals? How do you remember? How do you keep yourself motivated when it seems like nothing is happening?