Let me run through a list and then I'll get specific and personal:
-Define your goal in one sentence
-Goal needs to be a POSITIVE goal. What you want to do, not just avoiding what you don't want.
-Understand why you want to achieve your goals
-Goals are future oriented, plan ahead, set a time frame.
-Be active, don't just react
-Know your goals and the book's goals. Plan for the next book and the next.
-Study successful authors, your heroes, your competition***
-Perseverance is more important than talent
For me, my goal is to be a successful writer. (What does successful mean? That'll be a blog post for the future). But that's not really a good enough goal. I'll show you what I mean.
Goals need to be specific. So 'successful writer' is better than no goal but it's not good enough. So, let me refine it. I want to be published by Pyr books in the next three years*.
Ok, so we have specific goal. Next comes the hard part. What do I need to do to make that goal happen? This is how it starts. First the goal, then plan how to reach that goal. Pyr has a pretty high bar to entry, so I need to be a great writer writing interesting stories to get past Rene Sears** over at Pyr. How do I do that? Well here's what I plan to do to be a great writer:
--Keep reading. I want/need to keep reading authors I admire, to learn from them. See how they do the voodoo that they do so well. I need to read what Pyr is putting out so I can make sure that the novel(s) I send them fit them as a publishing house.
--Keep writing. The more I write, the better I get. (I hope/trust) So I need to keep writing every day. No, twitter and blogs don't count...unless we include the short stories I'm working on for those platforms. I'm also going to write a couple of series. Not just one book but a trilogy or two. I'm planning a career, not just a one-time event.
--Keep learning. That means buying, reading and digesting books on writing. That means going to writing workshops and classes. Living near Seattle, there is a blessed number of great writers living here. A lot of them teach as well. I need to attend more classes, balanced with the need to keep writing. I'm also going full out to make it into Clarion West next year.
--Keep going. I need to own my career path. I need to persevere. I keep hearing that the only difference between a successful writer and a failed writer is the failed writer gave up. I can be stubborn to the point of stupidity. Time to make that work in my favor for once.
So, those are my goals. There is a lot more to say but this will do for now.
What is your goal? What is your career plan? Who's career do
*I really want to work with Lou Anders. Of all the editors out there, he's the one that's impressed me the most. He's got vision, he's an advocate for his books and he's a nice guy. Which helps.
** Rene is currently reading the slush over at Pyr. She's very prompt and seems nice as well. Both are good qualities for someone reading your work. Especially the promptness.