Saturday, April 21, 2007

Goal and Response

So, I've been thinking about the responses to my R E L I E F post. Some great stuff in the comment thread in there, btw, particularly CJD's note at comment 11 (I may have more to say on that part of the subject later. I need some thinking time first.)

More immediately, I was thinking about Lyda's comment about dancing in the streets and wondering why it didn't quite resonate for me. Sure, I shouted myself hoarse over my first story sale, and there was definitely some dancing with the second book contract, but not as much as many of my friends and family expected. In thinking about it, I've developed a theory about why that is.*

It has to do with goals. It has never been my primary goal to sell this book or have that series be a runaway success. Sure, that's always been an intermediate goal and a hope, but what I really want as a writer is to continue writing and growing and to have a writing career that ultimately covers my costs so that I don't have to do anything else. My attention is never focused on the book that's written, it's always focused on the next one and the ultimate goal of a writing career.

That's why I danced a little bit when WebMage III and IV sold where I didn't for I and II—because III and IV were sold on proposal. I was more excited because the book contract was for the next book, not the last one. So, yes I get excited about sales, and it's always a huge kick to see my books on the shelves, but what really gets me going is thinking about the next book.

*this is strictly my experience-different writers will likely have wildly different milage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah - I keep thinking about this when filmmakers frown and ask "So what do you have that I can see?" (And here's my own reel... Got any money?)

My answer would be "Well, my focus really has been just to get better at the writing, even though I did... And, like, there's this science fiction thing, see..." But their eyes would glaze over. So I mumble 'not yet' and turn the conversation back to them (being reticent but not unskilled...)

Enough of those conversations have started to make me embrace the idea that it's actually not a bad thing to be focused on the writing itself instead of recogition (knowing the time for that focus will come).

Just a different approach (to learning as well as writing) - the struggle is with embracing that kind of strange patience (embracing uncertainty and 'no applause,' as the Buddhists say). And dealing with other people's ideas about timing. Instead of needing to rein in speed and aggression, or the strain of jumping back and forth from very internal processes to very external ones.

Whether you focus on the front end of the process or the back end, though, it's kind of the same issues. There's reining in aggression up front, and having to do it after you've thrust your neck out to be chopped off. We all like to live dangerously - but 'how' is the 'la differance' part.