Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Do You Want?

What do you want?

This is the single most important question you need to answer as you embark on your writing life.

Until you know why you’re writing and what you want to achieve with your writing, you’re not going to be able to craft a plan to support your art.

Where does writing fall into your life? Is it a priority? There’s nothing wrong with it NOT being the central focus of your life, but then you have to face the fact you will have an entirely different career than someone who is willing to put it first. It will take you longer to get published; you might never hit the best seller list if you aren’t willing to do the promotion that is now necessary by authors. You might be a better artist or craftsman than another, more well-known writer, but you won’t have the same type of career. That doesn’t mean you can’t be happy with the career you build.

Is fame your ultimate goal? Again, then you need to make different decisions based on that. Your craft must be impeccable, so you can drop the hot style du jour into it. You must be available for promotion at all hours, at any time, and, at least at the beginning, you can’t say no to anything.

Is it the process that drives you? The love of storytelling, of words on the page? Then you must carve out regular time and respect your writing – and demand others respect it. Craft the best stories you can and revel in every minute of it. It may be more difficult for you to deal with the business side of things, because you don’t enjoy it. And that’s where you have to both push yourself and be gentle with yourself in order to achieve your dreams.

There are many different ways to achieve a professional writing career. You have to find your own path. Even your favorite author’s journey is entirely different from yours.

Craft can be taught. Imagination must be allowed to run free. Business protocols must be learned. You need to combine them and balance them all in order to reach your goals.

But until you know what those goals are, you’ll be flailing, running in circles, feeling like you’re slogging through molasses.

As you work on your GDRs (Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions) for 2007, answer this question first. That will help you craft your plan. For some questions to help you on your way, visit Wordish Wanderings.

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