Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Next Big Thing... or Not

As I’m sitting in the Indianapolis Airport, lamenting about my canceled flight, it hit me: I aspire to spend more time in airports, and so I better start saving up travel karma. This got me thinking about what I want from my writing career. It’s a fine line between being confident and being obnoxious.

Admit it, when you hear an unpublished writer say they’re the next Stephen King or JK Rowling, most of you roll your eyes. It’s a one in a million shot, right? Who in their right mind would think they could be the ONE? (Well, other than Stephen and JK.) In my genre, the current buzz names are Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins. They both have best-selling series with movies raking in millions (okay, Hunger Games isn’t out yet, but I know I’ll be at the midnight show. Who’s with me?)

Why is dreaming big a bad thing? I mean, if you’re doing the work to become better and you aren’t spending all your time talking about how great your writing is instead of actually writing, where’s the harm? If you can walk the walk, why is confidence discouraged? Besides, I’m willing to bet not everyone wants to be the multi-book best-selling author, even the people who are consistently hitting the top of the charts and getting movie options.

I remember an interview done with Stephanie Meyer on the red carpet at one of the movie premieres. The reporter asked her what advice she would give to aspiring authors and her response was interesting. She said not to get into writing for the money. She said you have to love writing and make that the priority. She went on to add that she hadn’t been able to write much because of the PR for the movies and it was something she really wanted to get back to. But, being someone who only listens to TV with about half my attention, here’s what I heard. “I wrote this book. Lots of people liked it. I wrote more books. A production company optioned them. People went crazy over the movies and I sold more books. I made lots of money. But I’m not happy about it because I can’t actually do the thing I love to do: Write.”

So, because my flight was canceled and I have literally seven hours of hanging out in an airport today, I thought I would share my aspirations. Some may call them borderline arrogant, but I like to think of them as constant motivators pushing me to be better. They remind me that success rarely, if ever, comes without the price tag of hard work and dedication.

1. Write books that are on the best-sellers list. Number one would be nice, but just being on the list would be cool, too. Heck, at this point, being on Amazon’s top 50 in YA (insert genre) would be good.

2. Have a modest production company option my book. (Not at all interested in a TV series.)

3. Get interviewed by Ellen (I’ve been practicing that interview for about a year now.)

4. Remember that writing is the breath of my soul. If I ever get to a point where the joy of “breathing” is squelched by my “brand”, it’s time to re-evaluate my aspirations.

5. Never become so cynical about my career that I can’t find satisfaction in my work.

6. Spend the rest of my life writing books I would want to read. If my books become too commercial or don’t make me excited writing them, maybe it’s time to enjoy my moderate success and take a break from churning out crap. (My current WIP actually leaves me smiling when I finish revising and I can’t wait to find out what happens next!)

7. And of course, know where every Starbucks is in every MAJOR airport in the country. (Do they have an app for that?) ***REVISED TO REPORT THERE IS A STARBUCKS (or two) ON EVERY CONCOURSE IN THE KANSAS CITY AIRPORT***

So here’s my question for you, oh faithful readers: What do you aspire to? I hope, no matter what it is, you find a way to BE PASSIONATE about your goals and the role they play in your life. As for me, I’m going to find a more comfortable seat and dream about the day I can afford first class… oh wait, I’m a writer… maybe I should aspire to paying for the early check-in. When I'm published I'll be able to afford ten bucks, right?

1 comment:

  1. I really only have one.

    I want to publish books that people love to read.

    Maybe I'm a little idealistic, but that's pretty much what I aspire to.