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Writing Goals -- by Karla Brandenburg

The recent poll on the home page caught my attention, not just because it was thought provoking, but because my answer might change, depending on where I’m at in the writing process.

For instance, I’m about two-thirds though my latest writing endeavor, and because I also work a demanding day job (more demanding sometimes than others), my first response was “I just want to finish it.” Working on a limited time budget, I’m struggling to balance the work/life thing in addition to finding quality writing time. Then I read the second option.

“I write for personal satisfaction, I have no intention for anyone to read it.” That was true when I was younger. Those stories were in there just dying to get out, but I didn’t have enough focus or dedication to share what I wrote. To my way of thinking, that category applies to people who haven’t figured out that this writing thing doesn’t go away. It’s “that thing you do.” In time, you’re going to want to share it.

“I’ll be happy just publishing it.” I think I’ll let that go. For most of us, that’s a given.

“Not going to quit my day job . . .” Smart thinking there. I went to a writer’s conference and the keynote speaker was a phenom, a rising star. She’d never received a rejection letter (what?!?!?) and her first book was soaring up the charts. As a result, she quit her day job as a lawyer – and quickly discovered that writing is not a lucrative career (unless you’re Nora Roberts or JK Rowling or Dan Brown . . . well you get the idea). As one of my critique partners often says, it isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Building your readership takes time, and if you’ve got a real gift, your book will make a big splash. Until that time, don’t consider your writing as a “get rich scheme.” It ain’t gonna happen (at least not right away). It might take years to establish enough of a following, so for most of us, “I plan to make a few bucks” is a reasonable expectation (goal). Then when you make that splash, you can be pleasantly surprised.

And then there are the BIG dreamers. Yes, I want to write that break-out novel that will make me a household name. Which begs the question “where’s the ‘all of the above’ option?” At any given moment in time, I could easily choose any of these answers.

For me, my primary writing goal is to write. Period. When my time is at a premium, I keep plodding along, even if what I’m writing is so much drivel. Once I get it down, I can edit it later. And even when I don’t have the appropriate concentration level to get my novel written, I can at least make notes to come back to. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it.

Posted by Karla Brandenburg 19 Mar 2014 at 00:30
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Responses to this blog

Azarial 21 Mar 2014 at 07:40  
Very true. I'm sure depending on the day my answers would very wildly. The only one that would never fit for me is the not intending anyone to read it one. Goal one finish it, goal two publish it, goal three make some money. Dream big goal best seller (and what writer doesn't want there writing to touch the lives of that many people).
Maetis 21 Mar 2014 at 09:20  
I wish there was an option of "Get myself to a place where it doesn't cause me extreme anxiety to let anyone read my work." Has anyone else fallen into that cycle of loving the feeling of writing, but immediately hating anything you produce?
Karlabran 22 Mar 2014 at 15:12  
All the time, MAetis. And that's what I call editing. Once you get it down, ugly as it may be, it gives you a place to start cleaning it up.

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