Dreams are funny things. As parents, we tell our children they can be anything. The untapped potential of the newborn baby could be driven in a myriad of different ways. That new child in your hands could be the president, famous actor, captain of industry, or just about anything. As adults, we know that isn’t necessarily true for ourselves. We’ve long since exhausted the span of possibilities and have narrowed it down to just a few small hopes and dreams.
But that isn’t to say our dreams aren’t important. You can have dreams as short lived as wanting to run a 5k. With a good month’s time, running a 5k is very doable. Becoming a better cook by taking classes at the local community college is totally within the realm of what is accomplished as an adult. However, if you are going to have the dream to climb to the top of Mount Everest or obtain your own reality television show on the cooking channel, you are not likely going to be able to do that in the next few months and likely not in the next few years.
When you start out as an author, it is better to start in bite sized chunks rather than simply trying to sit down and punch out a 50,000 word novel. Even having three novels under my belt, I still set a goal of only about 1,000 – 2,000 words a session. Some people, professionals, will tell you that is actually quite a bit and I am pushing myself too hard to make content. There are some authors who’ll tell you that’s a mere drop in the bucket and I need to push harder. Ultimately, the decision of how much or how little to write is completely up to you.
Starting out, always keep in mind the following
- Write for the love of writing
- No one ever creates gold spun brilliance every time they sit down at the keyboard; even the masters have editors
- No one is going to knock on your door and give you a million dollar publishing contract, that doesn’t happen
- It may be ten years, or more, before you break even in this business
- Don’t obsess over the things you aren’t good at, focus on the things you are
- Live every day for forward momentum
I can’t tell non-writers how easy it is to slip into a pit of despair over the progress of your writing career. They would not understand. It’s up and down … then up and down again. When you are convinced it has all ended and there is no way your life will ever have any meaning. Boom—like a shot in the dark, you’re back on top again when someone you admire notices your work.
I am miles away from being where I want to be, as a writer, but I try to keep in mind the advice of my editor. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Slow and steady wins it over time. I focus on my goal and then set new ones as needed.
What I am trying to tell you all is that it is not easy and some days I am a little harder on myself than I intend to be; just like Hemmingway or Poe. I guess that is just all part of wearing the plumed hat of an author so don’t be too hard on yourselves and don’t give up.
-Your Humble Servant,