I am just barely home from RT (Romantic Times Booklovers Convention for those of you unfamiliar), and I'm fairly dead still so please bear with me.
In most any career, people set goals, and authors are no exception. "I'm going to write at least 300,000 new words this year" or whatever. One of the ways in which being an author is different than most careers though is that far too many of our "goals" are outside our control.
- I'm going to hit one of the bigger lists on Amazon.
- Better yet, I'm going to hit multiple lists on Amazon.
- I'm going to average better than 4 stars with this book on Goodreads after 100+ reviews.
- I'm going to have someone so passionate about my book that they leave .gif reviews.
- Fans are going to surprise me with presents at conventions.
- People are going to fangirl over me when they find out who I am.
Those lists aren't really goals though. They're more like wish-lists. Because no matter how hard you bust ass on a project. Arguably, no matter how good said project is...that stuff is all outside of your control.
And the worst part is even once you get some of those things, new ones pop up to take their place. Of the six I mentioned? I've had four happen in the last month. (A fifth is debatable since the gifts were actually for my kids and I just claimed one of them LOL)
Yes, I am over the moon about it. Yes, I feel like other people care about what I do. Yes, I like the external validation.
But it's like a monster. Now I want more things. Other things. Things that are once again outside my control.
And I don't like that. It makes me feel like a diva. I don't think readers would like me if I was a diva. Most people who met me at RT last week liked me because I was loud, irreverent and goofy. Other than loud, those things are kind of the anti-diva. Plus, my readers don't owe me anything. We have an unwritten contract. I write and edit the books, they buy and read the books. That's it. Anything above and beyond that is a bonus (including them forgiving me for not remembering anyone's name--seriously, I forget my own name sometimes.)
So, I am hereby vowing to rid myself of those wish list items. I am going to focus on goals that I can attain.
- Writing 300,000 new words in 2014 (well on my way)
- Doing more and different promotional stuff this year (on my third FB party of the year!)
- Submitting a project outside my comfort zone. (I don't mind rejection, but it's easier to take from someone who will likely love my next project. It's making me complacent and I don't like that.)
- Hitting my deadlines.
- Maintaining my loud, irreverent, goofy self online, even when life starts to get me down. (Not in a don't-talk-about-life way, but more a reality-bites-good-thing-I-like-biters way.)
- Not selling out on personal or professional levels. (I am always nice and polite, but I refuse to be an ass-kisser. It might hold me back in some circles, but I have to wonder if I really want to be in those circles anyway.)
- Not letting the job get in the way of my life.
That stuff is all on me, and it's a far more productive use of my time than dwelling on things I can't control. So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go write.