Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Delusions

If there has ever been an author who started writing her first book without a few, shall we say, unrealistic expectations, I've yet to hear of her. That's because the authors who inspire us to be authors... are already authors. We look at them and we see their shiny covers and their awesome book tours and, if that author is Stephenie Meyer, we love, love love to hear how she went from having a really vivid dream to writing and selling the next international sensation in six months. SIX MONTHS! Wow, we think. I can do that. And we end up like this guy:

Sadly, I was (am?) far from the exception to this rule. When I first decided to be an author, I literally contacted a very, very nice and patient editor with some questions about this great idea I had. I didn't offer to sell it to her, but I did want her to tell me if the idea would sell... before I had to go to the trouble of writing the thing. (She very kindly responded and encouraged me to outline it and ask again later.) My fantasies in those days were of someone offering to buy my book before I'd ever even proven I could finish a whole book.

I've learned a lot since then. I now know that you need to have a book before you can sell a book, that NOBODY who is not named Stephenie Meyer can write and sell their first book in six months, that even if my book really is the cat's meow, it still might not get the attention it deserves, and even if it does, I probably won't be building a mansion at any point in my career, and that writing a whole book is A LOT harder than it looks.

I also know that it is possible to do all those things... and that's the main source of my continuing delusions. My dreams aren't SM or JKR big, but, until I actually sell something and see how many zeros I get, I'll still dream big. Heck, I'll probably dream big even then.

Anyway, here's my short-list of writerly goals for this year:
  1. Edit and query WIP #1. (Hopefully by the end of April.)
  2. Write WIP#2 (currently just an idea)--the whole thing.
And here is the short-list of delusions that I can't control, but that the goals are working toward:
  1. Get agent for and sell WIP #1 for lotsa $$$, start editing for a 2013 release date.
  2. Heck, why not do the same with WIP #2... but with a 2014 release date. :)
What delusions will be driving you in 2011?


  1. I think my biggest delusion is that I will ever figure out how to write a query.

    I'm not in this for the money or the career. I already have a career. The idea that someone might actually WANT to read something I've written is enough for me.

    But finding someone who wants to publish something I've written would, I guess, prove to myself that I did it.

    I started Karate just before I turned 50. Four years later I got my Black Belt. That was so satisfying, and I'm grateful I accomplished that before my ankle and knees couldn't handle it anymore (which they can't--it sucks to get old).

    My real delusion for this year (and any that I live though after) is that I could get published before I die.

    I'm not talking great literature here either.

  2. Aprilynne Pike and James Dashner both got the call that they had sold their first books just after they sadly admitted to themselves that they would never be published.

    By never giving up, I figure I'm at least ahead of a huge percentage of writers. Too bad it takes a really, really long time to never give up.

  3. My wife and my writing goals for this year are to get our book finished so that we can send it out to final reviewers so that we can find an Agent early in 2012 for our book.

    Since I am ahead of my wife, my personal goal is to start on Book 2 when I finish my first draft of book 1.

  4. Eric--see, now I think your goal is more realistic than mine--I'm probably not accurately predicting the time it will take to get my WIP submission-ready.

    Sadly, though, if I give myself a whole year to do it, I'll wait until October to get started. So I'll set an April goal to completely edit it... and leave myself open to the idea that it might take a few more passes after that.