Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.
Probably a bad thing, but I’m a worrier by nature and I’m trying to curb the habit by living more in the moment. That means learning to accept the things I can control and letting go of the things that I can’t.
One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve become published is that there is a lot more pressure (often not self-imposed) to promote the heck out of your books and/or yourself. I admit that I have promoted myself through social media, blog tours, paid ads, ect.
And for the most part, I’ve resented all the time it’s taken away from my writing. I am one of those people who subscribes to the belief that the best marketing tool is your next book. Yet, I got sucked into the promotional vortex and paid the price by only completing two books last year (and one of them two days before X-Mas!).
I know writers who would kill to finish two books in a year, but for me, I wanted three. Maybe this year, I will meet that goal.
Before I go further, there is a difference between a goal and a dream. A dream is something out of your hands (like winning the lottery, making the NY Times Bestseller list, going to Mars).
While a goal, is something you can achieve through your own actions. Want to be on the NY Times Bestseller list? First, realize this is a dream and not in your control. But what you can do, is control yourself by writing the best books you can. You can continue to learn the craft of writing so readers, when they do discover you, want to read more of your books. If you’ve been spinning your wheels on the same book for years, time to think about changing focus.
If you want to be on the NY Times list, you’ll also need to recognize one simple fact – you can’t make anyone buy your book. Remember, dreams are outside your control.
Not sure which is a dream and which is an achievable goal?
Dream: win a RITA (or other award) Goal: learn skill ___ to improve writing. Take a class, read a book on craft, find a mentor (wash, rinse, repeat) Goal: submit published novel (or unpublished manuscript) to contests (again, you can’t control if you win, but you can use it as a learning experience to improve your writing.)
Dream: become rich and/or famous with your writing Goal: complete a novel in 2013 or
Goal: submit polished novel to agent or editor or pursue indie publishing.
Dream: sell X number of books. Goal: schedule an appearance at your local bookstore or library.(Remember, you can’t make people buy your books but you can make a favorable impression.) Goal: write your next novel and stop worrying about sales.
Now before you raise your arm and shout “Blasphemy!”, consider this - Do you let other people tell you what to buy? If I followed you around a store, chanting, “buy my book, buy my book!”, you’d call security. Then you’d probably never buy anything of mine ever again because I was obnoxious and rude. Not to mention, no one likes other people telling them how to think.
Hopefully, you’re sensing a theme: you can control your time, your output, your quality and yourself.
So, no matter how much control we writers have over our work these days, some things haven’t changed. Readers want to discover good books and they will find you eventually. As my fellow Scribe PJ says of a writing career, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
In the meantime, here is my goal for 2013: head down, write more, learn more, and be considerate to others. Always!
Share and share alike. What has your experience been? What strategies do you use to fight for your goals?