So I recently interviewed a well-known actress, and when I asked her if she had a designated plan for her career, she said that, "no, she didn't, but that she always had goals. " What she meant by this was that she couldn't chart every single step in advance, but as she worked her way up, she always recalculated what her next aspiration was. I thought this seemed like really smart advice, especially because I tend to view my career steps similarly. When I first started out, my aspiration was to see my byline in a national magazine. Then, it became for editors to assign me articles rather than have me pitch them. Then it became a financial goal. From there, once I shifted into fiction, it became finishing my novel, then publication...and well, you get the idea. In other words, when I first started out, my goal wasn't to hit the Times list or to have my book adapted into a movie. It was these smaller steps that accelerated and led me to the big steps.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I've started thinking about what my goals are for the next step of my career. It seems like apt timing as I'm just about to start book #3, and I've been thinking a lot about what I hope to accomplish with it. The truth is that I do feel some pressure with it: I've never sold a book on a pitch, and while it's thrilling, it also means that I have no choice but to deliver with a capital D. So while I feel a tiny bit paralyzed by this pressure, I've decided that my only goal with this book has to be to make it better (in my mind and my satisfaction level) than my last one. That's all I can do. I can't make my goal to hit the Times list because so much of that is out of my control. I can't fervently wish that it gets adapted to a movie because that, too, has little to do with me. I can only put my head down and craft a book that I'm incredibly proud to have written. So that is my goal right now.
I'm also toying with the idea of attempting to adapt the screenplay (if and when it sells) because that truly will stretch me as a writer, and it seems like a great goal, in terms of continuing to learn what I'm capable of. So if it sells, that's a reasonable and good goal for me to keep in mind. But we'll see. Right now, the above feels like enough.
So tell me, what are your goals for the coming year? Big or small, they still count.