Those of us who are still suffering from the adolescent need to be cool (like the high school kids who come to our house on Halloween talking on their cell phones and wearing nothing but a wig or a mask), may be afraid to admit that you want to be successful writers, that they want to see their books on bookshelves, that they want to make a living at writing someday because … well, they can’t fail if they don’t try, and nobody wants to fail. But I think most of us who write and read writing blogs are willing to admit that we aren’t doing this for posterity (only), that we’d like more than our children and grandchildren to read our writing.
On a completely unrelated note, my friend Josh McHugh’s company Attention Span Media, is teaming up with Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment to bring you the Internet reality show that debuted last week titled If I Can Dream. It’s very cool in that you can go to the site and watch the participants 24/7 in the house from various camera angles. When I’m bored I peak in on them to see what they’re up to (and get jealous at how calm and uneventful their lives are compared to mine.)
So in the spirit of In I Can Dream, today I am going to dare to dream about my long-term goals are as a writer. I believe you can achieve anything (almost anything) you want if you work long and hard enough toward your goals, but it’s important to begin with a clear image in your head of what it is you want to achieve. And a ten-year-plan is a good place to begin. (If you can’t think that far ahead, I’d start with a five-year-plan.)
In the next 10 years, I want:
1. To get my memoir published and for it to be successful. Ideally, New York Times best seller list. Almost as good, any best seller list. Still wonderful, to see it in places like Barnes & Noble and Costco and Target as well as the independent bookstores. I want my book to be mainstream, for women and teens, but I don’t expect it to win any awards. I’d LOVE for it to make some money—$50,000-$100,000+ so I can go on a vacation to Hawaii, buy some clothes, and invest the rest. (Hey, I’m allowed to dream!)
2. To teach. I got my MFA so I could teach someday, but so far I haven’t had the time. I want to hold off on this for now, though, until I get my book published and the kids are in school at least part-time.
3. To get my next book published. I have vague ideas about what my next book will be. Nonfiction. And I hope it will be a huge bestseller. I hope I’ll be asked to write articles for various magazines as a result (or that I’ll convince people to print related articles) and that it will spawn future book deals.
4. To write fiction. I’d love to get some short stories published, or a book of short stories. Maybe. Someday. And I’d love to write novels. But I have to say, at this point in my nascent writing career, I don’t know whether I’m going to end up writing fiction or nonfiction. I always thought I wanted to write novels, but now I’m not so sure. I tend to have more ideas for nonfiction books, and I want to make money from my writing some day and it’s so much easier to do that by writing nonfiction. If I can do both, that would be ideal.
5. My overall 10-year goal: 5 books published (I’d be fine with three or four, but I have to think big) and averaging $50,000/year from writing/teaching combined (that’s not a ton, but it’s realistic.)
What are your 10-year goals?