Friday, August 05, 2011

Fill the Well Friday-- Revisit Your Goals

PHS editor Michelle Styles finds an unexpected way to revitalise her writing.
Why do you write? What is the goal of your writing? What is the ultimate prize for you -- fame, fortune, security for your family? Something else? When did you last think about it? Seriously. What are you going to do to achieve that  goal?
It is very easy to get lost in getting the next book finished. Or completing the next manuscript in the multi-book contract. Or doing following the next idea. Without really stopping to consider - -where do I want to go in my career? Where is this taking me? What do I ultimately want to achieve? What is holding me back from making that commitment and finishing what I started? Am I looking at things as obstacles or steps up?
Reaffirming the reasons why I am writing in the first place and my long term goal has unleashed all sorts of creativity. Suddenly I *know* why I am doing it and it is not just because I am in the middle of a multi-book contract. One of the problems with multi-book contracts is that it can suddenly feel more like work and less like play. Creativity often does not thrive on  mundane work but it does thrive on dreams and goals.

I have just finished  Bob Mayer's Write It Forward. What he says resonated deeply with me and reminded me to take the joy. Mayer because of his recent background has an obvious biases towards indie/self-publishing/micro-publishing (he also writes guys with gear who go books rather than romance but hey, it is his platform)  but  don't let that put you off. What he says about goal setting, courage etc speaks to all authors, regardless of the chosen career path. For that reason, I do recommend anyone who feels like they are currently struggling with their writing career to read the book and grab the inspiration with both hands.  As a download, it is not going to break the bank and is certainly cheaper than a bottle of wine.
The book is not about writing per say but about taking control of your career. And a big part of doing this is doing the research. How realistic are your goals?  Do you understand the various pathways? Time commitments etc? he also gives practical exercises and guidance as often an author's biggest obstacle is herself and her habits.
One of the things Bob talks is about looking at other authors and their careers. See their career paths. Were they straight forward as often is portrayed in movies? Or not? A very good example is Sherrilyn Kenyon's keynote speech at the RWA Conference this year. Her journey to hugely successful publisher author was anything but straight forward. (Read it with a box of tissues handy) If you have heard Nora Roberts speak, you will know it took her 16 years before she hit number 1.  Robyn Carr took 30 years to hit success with her Virgin River series. Brenda Novak in her interview in the August 2011 RWR describes what she went through (I already had a huge respect for Brenda and all she does with her auction. It increased tenfold)  Many other long term successful authors can offer up similar stories. If you haven't spoken to successful authors or read about their career paths lately. Take the time. Revisit those stories. See what they did. How long it took them and why. Use them to inspire you.
So go ahead. Revisit those pie in the sky dreams and see why you held them. Dreams can change.  But it is important to have a dream. What are your long term goals and how are you going to get there?
And thank you to Bob Mayer for writing such an inspirational book and allowing me to reconnect with my dreams (like any author I do have them).  It is all about how determination, dedication, deiscipline, desire and persistence ( a common mantra of mine) pays so I felt as if he was on my wavelength.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide variety of time periods. Her most recent release To Marry A Matchmaker was a July ll release in the UK and will be a October 11 release in Australia/New Zealand. Visit to learn more about her books.

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