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March 27, 2019

Before I went to work on another project, I did my usual check of my Facebook new posts and came across one on a writing group.

“What are your writing goals?”

That was the question of the day.

My answer?

“My main goal is for the reader to know that my writing didn’t get in the way of the story and most of all, I want them to be able to close the book (the last page) with a big smile on their face. Can’t ask for more than that.”

In my original post, I forgot the “the last page” but I think everyone will figure it out.


You’ll notice nowhere in there did I say anything about making a living, going for max sales, or any of the mercenary business things one might think about in this quite often frustrating undertaking.


Well, for one, I’m a frustrated and failed musician who never really got much out of three decades of loving to play, but not being loved in return. While some people liked our stuff, the whole hassle and everything that went with it wasn’t all that artistically satisfying, especially when to even get heard, we were forced to play cover songs. That brings up another point that if we didn’t play them exactly like the record, we sucked. Given the thousands of dollars in gear and hours of practice, you can see the payoff for doing something we loved wasn’t all that inspiring, especially when we tried to sneak in an occasional song we wrote, or played a cover song the way we really wanted to.

Writing gave me a better outlet, one where at first, the idea of getting published and maybe striking lightning had a bit of appeal. After twenty years and 689 rejections, I was just too old to give a crap when I finally earned my first publishing contract. I do it for the love and passion of writing, which I already had from day one. Getting published always took a second seat to the love of creating stories.

In a nutshell, getting published and selling books was always a distant second or third to the pleasure of writing, editing and honing my craft. I figured if lightning ever struck one day, so be it. If not, I could live with that.

I got published, but it wasn’t exactly lightning striking. It was hard earned. As of right now, I’m not exactly setting the world on fire.

On the other hand, I have made a small group of fans.

In that way, I’ve already reached both of my goals, and continue to do so every time someone new reads one of my books. I have the potential to make a lot of new fans. There are some that will never like my stuff, of course. So what? Apples, oranges. For the ones that do, they’re my legacy.

Folks, I’ve reached my goals. Of course, I’d like to reach a wider audience, but will it ever happen? Maybe one day.


What are your goals?

Are you out to create art, get paid, gain popularity, or a bit of all three?

We’ve had a recent speaker at our writers group, and his main goal is to make money. Of course, he could do it in a thousand other ways, but he chose writing because he loves to write. He just has a different approach to the medium. There’s art, of course, but the main goal is to make a living.

I understand that and wish him the best.

I have a real job and have no plans to quit anytime soon.

If my books take off by some quirk of fate, or maybe because people just wake up to my writing, so be it. I still probably won’t quit my job. We’ll see.

What are you after?

Many I’ve talked to just write as a hobby. They get frustrated with all that’s involved. A good many of these people got into this to do a memoir. A one-and-done. After that? A lot of them lose interest and move on to some other less complicated hobby.

Then there are those where writing is a passion. They write all the time, so doing novels or short stories is part of their DNA. If you’re one of them, are you young enough to consider this a career? Are you mercenary enough to have both? Can you have both art AND business acumen to be a success? Are you willing to make artistic sacrifices to make a living rather than write from the heart?

Goals are great motivators. If you don’t have any, you may wallow in indecision and never complete anything. Even if you have the plot to your book mapped out, or are a pantser and have A and B already set, if you don’t have a particular goal in mind, separate from whatever plot the book might have, guess what?

Procrastination sets in.

You’ll be spending more time on Facebook or being distracted by Roadblocks than doing any actual writing whenever you sit down at the computer.

You’ll talk a lot about your story and what you’re going to do, but without an actual solid goal, you may never actually get there. That great story with the great plot will never get finished.


Your goals should be well-defined. Mine are. They have been, pretty much from day one. Well, ever since I wrote The End on that draft of The Cave, my first-ever novel. Once I figured out I could do it, I never looked back. Getting published has always been in the background, but never front and center compared to just writing the best I can and creating stories that’ll put a big smile on the reader’s face. Can’t ask for more than that.

Happy writing!

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