Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where Do You Want To Be As A Writer - Goal Setting

When I start conversations with authors after I have fallen in love with their book, one of the first questions I bring up is where the author sees their career in the future. Sometimes this comes up in query letters and pitches as well and is certainly a great tool for me as an agent to assess the author. In simple terms, does this author have a plan in their head for where they are going to, and more importantly, is it realistic?

I remember one writer I met at a conference who, during the pitch, proceeded to tell me that her goal was to be able to write full time. That's fine and certainly something that is possible, but for her, she was going to do that starting this next year. She had put everything she had into this book, she had invested huge sums of money for professional editors and was not going to "sell this book" and make an income from this immediately. Unfortunately, this book was simply not going to do it for her.

Setting goals is incredibly important for writers. We need that driving force to get us to that computer each day to write. We need to have a goal for what we are going to do with today's writing as well as when the book will be finished, and also how much we will write that year. But goals have to be something we have control over. Goals cannot be something that relies on a lot of other people to make the goal successful.

Saying we are going to be on the New York Times Best Seller List is not a goal we can control. This is dependent on your readers cranking the sales up for you. Saying we will be published or sign with an agent or editor is dependent on you making the right connection and being in the right place at the right time.

I am bringing this up now because in a few weeks, many of us will be heading off to those major writing conferences of the summer. We will come back fired up and motivated. We will be making those goals for the coming year. But please remember, as you make those goals, think if these are realistic? Are these goals or dreams? In all honesty, failing in a goal that was never possible is probably more devastating to a career than a couple of rejection letters.

1 comment:

  1. Great reminder. I always seem to be setting goals I have no control over.