Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A worthy goal.

My goal is to write a great book.

Please understand that I'm not saying I've written the great book, or even that I'm capable of writing a great book.

I'm saying it's a worthy goal.

Way back when I started, Jared, who pointed out self-publishing through Amazon as a viable option, asked me what my goal was. I don't think I had much of an answer.

Let's just say I had a very strong urge to write. As it turned out I had an amazing amount of creative energy stored up.

I think for a long time I teetered between 1.) making money; having big selling books. Or 2.) just writing for my own amusement.

Then I had a more modest goal of just being published, getting good reviews, and making a little money.

So after 2 years of being published, my goals have finally more or less crystallized. I'm getting a pretty good sense of the lay of the land.

1.) The chances of fame and fortune are slim to none. You have to be involved in writing to know that this isn't just me being pessimistic. It's the reality of hundreds of thousands of books being published. Finishing a book is satisfying, seeing it published is even more satisfying, seeing good reviews is satisfying, and seeing it sell a little is even more satisfying. But all that fades fairly rapidly, and if that was the only motivator, I wouldn't be able to continue.

2.) Writing for my own pleasure is also not quite as fulfilling as I'd like, though--don't get me wrong--I mostly enjoy the whole process. In fact, the wisest way to approach writing is to see it as an ongoing process, not something that you never necessarily reach the end of. But if I was just writing a vacuum with no other purpose than to amuse myself, I think I'd probably find something else to do that wasn't quite so hard.

So here's the real motivation. To write the great book. Just that. It is probably beyond me--way beyond me.

But I'm always trying to get it JUST RIGHT. Each time I start a book, or am in the middle of the book, or even after I finish a book, I'm trying to get all the elements of a great book together.

This is probably a never-ending goal that will never be reached.

So my goal is to write that book where I'm totally satisfied in every way that I've done everything I can. A book that surprises me, that if I stumbled on it in a bookstore I'd be delighted with.

I like to think that I'll know if I ever get there.

I used to think that I couldn't write a book that's deeper, more intelligent, more creative than I am, but I don't think that is quite right. Writing is such a mysterious process that I think in fact I could write a book that is all those things. That there can be a synergy; by inspiration, by happy accident, by constant refining, by hard work, by trial and error, by constant writing and practice, by being in a zone, by some mystical beyond me type of connection, whatever...

I can imagine a great book emerging out of my typing.

It may not be likely, but it is a worthy goal, one that I think is just the tiniest bit possible.

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