Fight for Your Goals, Live for Your Dreams

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

UndeadSpaceInitiative_400Now that I’m plotting my next book, I’ve been thinking about my writing career a bit. As a rule, I don’t think too much about where I see myself in the future.

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).

Hope Springs
Fake movie theater – Stonington Point, CT

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 Take a class, read a book on craft, find a mentor (wash, rinse, repeat) Goal: submit published novel (or unpublished manuscript) to contests (again, you can’t control if you win, but you can use it as a learning experience to improve your writing.)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.

Filming - Hope Springs - Stonington Point, CT
Filming – Hope Springs – Stonington Point, CT

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?

18 thoughts on “Fight for Your Goals, Live for Your Dreams”

  1. I’m with you, girl. Even though I want to everybody on the planet to buy my book but I can’t control that. I need to focus and keep writing. Keep going I’m sure some of your dreams will come true.

    1. I’m not quite sure what my dreams are these days! I know that sounds weird but if I had to chose a dream it would be to work full time as a writer – some day. And no worries about your sales. You will do great!!

  2. You are so right, Casey. With my new book coming out, I find I am distracted with all kinds of media sign ups for advertising and promotion. Its a Catch 22 to budget time and mind control to focus on one thing at a time. Love your books!

    1. Thanks Joy! Best of luck to you with your new book Green Fire! And you are so right. There has to be a happy medium there somewhere. I’m still trying to find it.

  3. Manipulation. Bribery. Extortion. Flying monkeys. I’ve been known to employ all kinds of methods to fight for my goals. The important thing is to be flexible. When one strategy doesn’t work, try something new. And never give up!

    1. I love me some flying monkeys Melanie. Good thing because I have some in Mystic Storm. Have you ever made a flying sock monkey?? I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

      I also totally agree on flexibility. If you aren’t flexible then I think that meets the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result!

  4. I couldn’t agree more, Casey. With my first book, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to promote my book, and now looking back I wonder how much difference it made. WIth the release of my second book coming up shortly, I’m doing quite a few things differently. I am more focused on my writing now, rather than all the promo. I’m using “Field of Dreams” mentality here – “if you build it, they will come” …. “If I write it, they will read.” I’m more focused on learning and becoming a better writer. Thanks for the post.
    PS – Can’t wait for Mystic Storm!

  5. Well-stated, Casey. In the corporate world we refer to the measurable actions as objectives and the pie-in-the-sky hopes as goals…but the result is the same: you can control your day-to-day progress, your actions, but you cannot control the market or greater world beyond your efforts. I, like you, believe that more time at the keyboard is the correct path for most writers. Here’s wishing us all a fabulous 2013!

  6. Great post, Casey. It’s so tough in this business to stay focused and balanced. The never ending promotional vortex will always be a part of being an author and there’s no way around that, but if we set measurable and meaningful goals, do what we can to promote along the way, and focus on producing quality work, time and perseverance will be what gets us there. I certainly didn’t coin the “marathon, not a sprint” adage but it definitely applies. Best of luck in pounding out those books, sweetie. I’ll be very happy with two this year:-)

    1. Ah yes. Promotional vortex is a very apt description. I’ll be happy with two books this year too, but three would be sweet (you know finish Galen’s #@#$ book). We shall see what happens!!

  7. Truthfully I don’t look farther than, well, I guess I just take it one day at a time. Because of personal issues, extended family issues, I’ll be lucky to get out one book this year. Ah well… Hope your dreams come to fruition.

  8. Casey, great post. If you write and want to be in the business of writing, then the business end becomes critical. All artists would rather do their craft, but in order to get paid for the craft you have to do business. Why not find a local library and visit with a few of your writer friends. Then expand on that, go to other organizations, other libraries. I met Kristan and Toni that way. Create a topic readers enjoy and have a discussion with the other writers that challenge your audience. it’s fun. I used to do that when in my interior design career. They were always successful. Let everyone that comes know what you do. Make some pencils with your name and contact info. And suggest to the others on the panel to do the same. Invite writers different than yourself. The panels should raise challenging issues, just like your books. Create conflict, arouse your audience. This is a busy life, no getting away from it. What you sow, you will reap.

    1. Excellent tips Gail. Funny you should mention libraries. That is how I met J Monkeys, Suze and PJ – at a local writer’s group meeting. And PJ led us to CTRWA!

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