April 30, 2012

writerly aspirations

A lot of people always say how there is no such thing as an aspiring writer. Either you’re a writer, or you’re not. Yoda logic. And maybe that’s true, but you can be a writer and aspire to something—to be a New York Times Bestseller, to sign with a Big Six publishing house, to get a great agent, to publish with an indie publisher, to win an award for your book, to sell so-many books, to self-publish, to finish a novel, to finish ten novels, to meet Neil Gaiman, to write a character that readers fall in love with, to have your book turned into a movie, and so on so forth, etcetera. These are sometimes dreams, sometimes goals, and sometimes just what if I did such-and-such; wouldn’t that be cool?—much like winning the lottery or something.

I have several aspirations as a writer. Most are goals. Others are dreams. And maybe sometime in the future, those dreams will become goals. Some of these aspirations are big and general and in the distant future, and others are specific and not so far away. But I do believe that having something to work toward is a vital part of being a writer. If you never try to be better or achieve something more, you’ll remain stagnant. And I really hate being stagnant.

So my goals? I have a general goal to traditionally publish a book for every two or three books that I self-publish—whether that’s with a Big Six publisher or a mid-list publisher, doesn’t really matter. And if I became a NYT Bestseller, that would be pretty awesome, but I think that has more to do with luck than effort. There are a few agents that I would be happy to have—of course, they represent my favorite authors, so there’s that.

I think my biggest goal/aspiration/dream is to publish at least fifty books in my lifetime. Perfectly doable. Diana Wynne Jones did it, and to be honest, she’s the writer I aspire to be like. I want to write in several different genres—science fiction, steampunk, historical, traditional fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, maybe even paranormal romance if the mood strikes. I would very much like to see my book in a book store—which is where that traditional publication and bestseller status comes in. I would like to make a living off writing. That would be splendid. And what writer doesn’t want to see their book adapted into a movie or television show? Though, stipulation: neither Sam Raimi nor M. Night Shyamalan can have anything to do with it.

As for closer goals, I would like to publish one book a year, which I think is doable as long as I can get my act together. I want to finish the Chroniker City trilogy obviously. I want to rewrite my young adult fantasy The Wizard’s Heart sometime in the next year or two. And I would like to land a book contract within the next five years—Big Six preferably. My most immediate goal, however, is to fix the plot for The Guild Conspiracy. If I don’t do that, the above mentioned goals and dreams are pretty much null.

And that’s an important thing to remember when you start dreaming big and thinking of your future goals—you can’t forget your current goals. You reach those big goals one tiny step at a time, conquering lesser goals and moving on to the more daring. But it’s perfectly fine to lose yourself in daydreams of elite authordom, your name synonymous with the great writers of our time. Just remember to pinch yourself and return to reality so that you can lay the groundwork to get there.

What are your writerly aspirations? Your distant future goals? Your immediate goals?


  1. Well, I've just tossed myself into the plan-to-self-publish pool after commenters showed so much encouragement for my A to Z blog opera. I want to do the whole story with an ending. I have a few other WiPs that I plan to query but this project has sort of hijacked priority status.

    By the way, regarding this: neither Sam Raimi nor M. Night Shyamalan can have anything to do with it

    I TOTALLY agree with you. I wish I could have Hiyao Miyazaki do it. That would rock my brain into a faint lol!!

    1. I might die if Miyazaki wanted to do a film adaptation of a story of mine!

  2. My goals so far: write and illustrate a blog post a week--this is still creative work, finish a first draft of my paranormal mystery novel over the summer, complete at least 1 short story a month this summer.

    Depending on where this story falls, I could see it being marketable as normal...but it is also very weird, so...we'll see.

    But my other novel idea? Probably not as marketable, as it's even weirder.

    I secretly hope to someday become as famous as John Scalzi. It's not the fame that excites me, I just think I'd have a blast doing those public speaking events that he gets to do. Especially if I ever had the chance to do one WITH John Scalzi. I might have a heart attack if such an epic thing were to occur.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mind Sam Raimi doing an adaption of one of my books. He has a very particular style, but it would probably fit my writing style. But M. Night? Nope. Maybe back in his heyday, but definitely not now.

    You know who could do a great job on one of your books? Alfonso Cuaron.

    1. ooh, Alfonso Cuaron would do magnificently. especially if he did The Clockwork Giant. :)

      good luck finishing a novel over the summer! i'm definitely up for being your critique partner if you want. do you think you're going to pursue traditional publication or self-publishing?

    2. Right? The Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite of the HP movies. It felt the most like a genuine experience instead of just an adaption.

      For the one we've been talking about? Traditional. It seems more traditional. My dream publisher would be Angry Robot, but I like Tor and Del Rey also. But I'm also waaaaay ahead of myself there. I'd be happy to simply finish it. As for the other one...I might pursue self publishing there. Being a western, it's not what's "hot" right now...and it's odd for a western anyway.

      And also--hell to the yeah on the critique partner thing!