Writing dreams. Those of us who write or aspire to write all have them. Here’s a list of my Writing Dreams:
- Landing a book deal for my current WIP by the end of this year
- Being offered a huge advance and multi-book contract, enough so that I can quit my job and write full-time
- That each time I sit down to write, the words will just flow out my brain and onto the page
- That I can make my own schedule and write whenever the muse strikes
- My books will sell themselves
- My first book becomes a runaway bestseller, Hollywood comes knocking and turns it into a blockbuster smash hit staring Emma Stone and Chris Pine
Here’s the Reality to the above list of dreams:
- My first book, quite possibly, will never see the light of day
- Unless my name is Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or James Patterson, a huge advance, one that would allow me to quit my job, is just not going to happen.
- Writing is hard. There will be days where the words just flow out of my head and onto the page, but only on rare occasions
- If I only wrote when the muse made an appearance, I’d never write anything. Writing professionally means meeting deadlines — and that means writing when you don’t feel like it
- I’m not that great a writer and nobody knows who the hell I am, so I’m pretty sure my books won’t sell themselves. I’ll have to put in some effort to find readers and sell my work.
- That last one is borderline delusional but a fun daydream nonetheless
Dreams are fun to think about, especially when you’re having an especially crappy day. They give you something to look forward to, even if they are just daydreams. If you want to earn a living as a writer, you have to learn early on to not get caught up in romanticizing the “writer life.”
Writing is a profession just like any other. In order to succeed, you need to focus more on your writing goals rather than those crazy dreams you might have.
Here is a list of my current Writing Goals:
- Write every day. Set and meet weekly word count goals. (minimum goal of 7000 words a week)
- Finish my first draft, rewrite it, polish it, hope that it’s good enough to submit to either agents or directly to a traditional publisher and send it out into the world
- Write a second novel and go through the whole process again (hopefully will have found agent at this point)
- Post to my blog and social media (Twitter for now) on a regular basis and build a “writer platform”
- Write at least one short story a month for the rest of the year and submit them for publishing
The one difference between goals and dreams is Control. We control the outcome of our goals. Whether we achieve them or not is entirely up to us. Dreams are out of our control. I dream that the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol will knock on my door some day, but I can’t make that happen. Goals are the hard work that we put in while trying to turn those dreams into reality.
Daydreaming is fun once in a while, but I think I’ll stick with reality for now and focus more on reaching my goals.