Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thinkin' About the Future

In which I ponder what I learned at The Book Academy, do some soul-searching, and give out an award.

I am realizing now that my notes for the other classes I attended at the writing conference are woefully inadequate for blog posts. I did want to talk about James Dashner's presentation entitled, "Things I Learned from Springville to New York." Side note: I was sitting in the right place at the right time, and James Dashner invited me to sit with him and some friends for lunch. That was cool. He had a great list covering topics from good writing to finding an agent to marketing your work. What impressed me the most was the story he told of being at a writing conference listening to a famous author go on and on about how great she was, and feeling really depressed because all he had was one small press novel with a bad cover. He said he dealt with that depression by setting a goal. A totally ridiculous goal, in his words, that he would quit his job and write full time within five years. You know what? He did it. Five years later, he quit his job and is writing full time. His book, The Maze Runner will be released this week. I was inspired by that story! I wanted to set a ridiculous goal of my own and make it happen.

Then I hit a snag. I couldn't come up with a goal. Dashner's goal was perfect because it was specific and concrete and measurable. I didn't know what goal to set. "Become a successful author in X amount of years," seemed a little too nebulous to me. How do I define "successful" anyway? I can't set a goal to quit my job, because I can't, in fact quit my job. I don't want to anyway (except sometimes). I'm a stay-at-home mom. I've always wanted to be a stay-home mom. I love being a stay-home mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Which got me thinking: Do I have to give up being a stay-home mom to be a successful writer? I mean, obviously this is a job that can be done at home, I'm doing it right now, right? But, really, what if I had to go on a book tour? It seems silly to even think about since no book tour is even remotely on the horizon. It worries me, though. Does being a good writer mean giving up being a good mother? Maybe I should have gone to the class on being a writer and a good parent. There were just too darn many good classes to choose from. I have a hard time defining myself as a working mom. That's just not me. But, obviously becoming a published author would qualify me as working. Sigh. Should I just give it all up to take care of my family? I sure don't want to.

I've been doing some serious soul searching over this. I don't know if I have the answers, but I have come to this conclusion. Writing is too important to me to give up. My family is even more important to me than that. Here's the thing. I think my family is better off for my writing. I am setting an awesome example of perseverance, determination, and following your dreams. My kids are smart, independent and creative. I have to think that comes in part from watching me write and develop my own talents. Most of them are old enough now to read my stuff and enjoy it. I totally love that. Who knows what the future might bring? Stay-home mom is not a job that lasts forever anyway. I'm going to keep chasing this dream, because it makes me happy to do so, and because I believe that it is part of God's plan for me. Even though I often doubt and sometimes despair, I really do believe that in my heart.

So, without further ado, my very own ridiculous goal:

Within two years, I will have a novel published or at least have a contract. Also, I will be presenting at The Book Academy or some other conference of similar size.

Do I have what it takes to make it happen like James Dashner did? He worked hard to achieve his goal. I will too! Woah, it's really kind of scary to put it out there like that.

This post has probably gone on too long already, but I have one more thing to do. Give out an award! Diana at Writing Roller Coasters was kind enough to give me the Super Comments award. Thanks! Since it's a comments award, I'm going nuts and passing on this award to everyone who commented on my Keynote Address post, my most commented post to date. If you commented on that post, the award is yours. Furthermore, everyone who comments on this post gets the award too!

Phew! The post is finished. Hope I didn't ramble you all to death.


Linz said...

GREAT goal!! You CAN do it!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Woo-hoo! Great goal. I have just been through a couple of days of "Why am I writing novels, anyway?" But I know it will pass.

Danyelle said...

*sense cookies* Your goal isn't ridiculous, silly. :) I'm a stay at home mom too, and I love it. I agree with you that the family is better off for me writing. I make Grumpy look like a soft, little kitten when I haven't written in a while. Also, it's still important for "you" time, because you can't give the kidlets and spouse creature what they need if your own well is dry.

Congrats on setting and announcing your goal! Good luck with it. :D

Larry and CIndy said...

It is true Angie we as women (care givers etc.) have to do something for ourselves everyday. Mine used to be my aerobic addiction (why did I quit???) I don't exactly know what I do to fill my bucket up everyday but I need to find out. I think You should hang in there and keep writing and it will happen in God's due time! He loves you and your writing and so do I!!! MOM

L.T. Elliot said...

You can do it. I know you can! I was in the parenting/writing class and to summarize, being a good parent means refilling your well so you can keep giving life-giving water to your loved ones. If you don't take the time to replenish and nourish you, who will replenish them?
You can do this. Wonderful goal. I believe in you!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

congrats on your award!

I wanted to let you know about my blog address change. *sigh* If you're following me, my posts now won't show up in your feed, dashboard, sidebar, whatever. So please forgive me, but you'll have to change the address for my main writing blog, Where Romance Meets Therapy, to To do this, you have to "unfollow" me and follow me again. Sorry for the confusion!

The Character Therapist

Diana Paz said...

I love your goal! You can do it, and you're right about setting a great example to your kids.

Thanks for the link :) And, being the perpetual blog rambler that I am, your post did not go on too long. MINE definitely do, though!

Angie said...

Thank you all for your confidence and encouragement. I'm feeling brave!

dellgirl said...

Wonderful goal, it's not ridiculous at all. You can do the stay at home mom part and the writing, you're doing it already. I'll be cheering you on.

Heather Hansbrow said...

When you are a writer, one of the main staples of your diet is success stories of published authors. Thanks for another one; my hope remains alive. Maybe my goal is: Be a success story one day. :) I admire your tenacity, Angie. If anyone can accomplish the goal you've set, you can.

Suzette Saxton said...

Wish I could have been there! I love your goal and can see it happening!

Dawn VanderMeer said...

I think you're setting a great example for your children to follow their dreams. :) Good luck reaching your goal!

Natalie Murphy said...

You can do it!!!

I think part of the "issue" we writers have, is that we can't be defined. What is successful to one writer, won't be to another.

Don't worry about being a bad parent. The fact that you're worried about their welfare says a lot about you.