Thursday, March 26, 2009

this is turning into a habit

Had another day where I got practically nothing done. Not completely nothing but only about a page of new material. The climax is halfway done and then the slide to the end of the book (Natalie get your mind out of the gutter :) )

Aaron brought up an interesting question in yesterday's post, he also has an interesting contest today, for which I am completely not qualified but you may be, so go read it. The question he brought up yesterday, at least in my mind is 'At what point would you consider yourself to be sucessful?'

I have thought of this a lot lately. I was, at first, rejoicing that anyone would accept a piece I had written, then they paid me for my work, now I am ready to redefine success as something different. My wife would love it if I could make a living as a writer. She would be ecstatic at this point if I could pay the phone bill every month with my writerly earnings. To be honest, so would I. I guess I have always envisioned a living where I could do nothing but write. Okay, write and maybe make some furniture on the side. If someone could pay me to shoot guns, ride motorcycles, fish and play pool that would be alright as well, but that really isn't going to happen.

I guess I am not planning on becoming rich and famous with my writing. It was not my plan. I would rather make a comfortable living, pay a few bills and do what I like. Eventually, I would like my wife to not have to work as hard as she does (Let's face it, she has a doctorate and I have a bachelors degree, in creative writing no less. She can almost aways make a better living than me, especially considering that construction work isn't as easy to come by as it used to be.) I don't consider my goals to be unrealistic or out of reach. I figure, like everything else, if I work hard and consistently, I will get to where I want to be. I hope to write a couple of books and have them published eventually (although I might have a garage full of unpublished manuscripts before I get there).

Besides, I don't need to get a big publishing contract, I am going to win the lottery well before that happens. :)

Update: I forgot to mention that a story of mine has been shortlisted for Midnight Echoes issue 3. Unfortunately, I won't know any more until late summer about it, unless they drop it before that.

14 comments:

Catherine J Gardner said...

You're title made me think of nuns - now I want to write a short story about the pair I imagined sitting on top of your title. (Don't ask).

Anyhow, to answer your question. When would I consider myself successful?

I used to think it would be when I got an agent (then I found out that isn't a guarantee you'll sell your book).

Then I figured it would be when I sold a book (then I realised just because one book sells doesn't mean another will).

So I guess, I will consider myself successful when I have a book out and a contract for a second book. You see, by then I will be 95 and it won't matter if they want or don't want a third book. :)

Jamie Eyberg said...

It is odd how we view this industry (and it is an industry) from the inside rather than when we started and knew nothing about it. I expect I have much, much to learn before I am done and things will change in the interim (how will people be reading in the future, e-books, internet, implants?) (Will the emphasis be in short fiction as it was 100 years ago or in longer fiction?)

Now, I have to go write a story about nuns.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Please do so and then I won't have to. :D

Aaron Polson said...

I've been pondering (some more) and maybe successful just means I'm still working on my writing. If I quit, that's the only real way to fail. Make sense? The only thing I have control over is that I keep writing.

Jamie Eyberg said...

It scares me the number of things beyond our control. Perhaps that is why I write in the first place. I get to play God. At least on paper.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Ying has a doctorate, too. I have a B.S. in journalism. My first job offer was part time and wouldn't have even covered gas!

Jamie Eyberg said...

Natalie- I was running into that with full time employment in construction. Between gas, tools and babysitters I wasn't pulling in enough to warrant the taxes I paid on what was left. So, now I write.

Carrie Harris said...

Success equals selling a book. For us novel writers, it's easy. :)

The defining success part, not the selling part.

Natalie L. Sin said...

If you had picked dogs over children, we'd be like twins ; ) Next you'll be telling me you have an addiction to Bagelfuls.

Danielle Ferries said...

Part of success is being happy with what you're doing/achieving too, I think. Congrats on the shortlist.

K.C. Shaw said...

The shortlisted story is a good sign!

I'll consider myself successful when I've sold a book to a major publisher AND I can find it on the shelf at my local B&N AND I start getting royalty checks because it's earned out the advance. Easy peasey, right?

Jameson T. Caine said...

I'll consider myself successful when I can sell a story (hopefully in novel form) before writing a single word for it.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

I'd consider success being able to keep my current income level--which is just enough to pay bills and put a little into a 401k, and maybe eat out once a week--using money from writing. Even if I sold a book, if I couldn't live for at least a couple of years from the advance, I would consider that only half of a victory.

Matt said...

Wait, just so I don't go out of turn... when are you planning on winning the lotto? I just need to know so I'll know when I'm going to win. Don't want to win right after you, the jackpot will be smaller!

I think the more I write, and the more I get published, my definition of successful changes and mutates a bit. In the beginning, it meant a bestseller or two or twelve. I think now, I'm happy that I'm constantly improving and I am considerably more realistic about what it takes to make it in the business. I'm shooting for a long career at this point, rather than billions of books sold and millions of dollars made. (that would still be nice!)