Set Your GoalsYou can't be the underpants gnomes from South Park and expect to be successful without a plan. Of course you have the larger goals that you want to reach like being on the best seller list, making enough money off your writing to support yourself, or own all the Twinkies in the world. How do you make that happen though? You need smaller manageable goals that you KNOW you can accomplish. Small steps you can take that will lead up to the larger goals.
These are the smaller goals that I work the living crap out of. If you don't squeeze all the innards out of these then there is a chance of infection. Trust me, you don't want your dreams to become infected. Unrealistic goals can poison your whole outlook on what you are doing. It can push your spirits down and force you to quit. You know how the saying goes. Quitters never win, and winners go to Disney Land. Well? Do you wanna go to Disney Land with me?
Manage ExpectationsI did a little digging and found that there are very few debut novels that make the NYT bestseller list in any given year. The Girl On The Train is the only one I can think of in recent times that made #1 although there may be another one this past year. Now that self publishing is somewhat mainstream there are thousands of books published every year. Think about that. The chance of being a NYT bestseller on your debut novel is better than winning the lottery, but worse than your chance of being chased by a murderous clown or shot by a toddler.
Don't use someone else's stick to measure your level of success! The quickest way to hit the quit button is by trying to measure your level of success against the Stephen Kings, Tom Clancys, or Chuck Tingles of the world. You are not them and you never will be. It's comparing apples to oranges with the expectation of them both tasting like chocolate. Don't do that, it's like slapping yourself across the face repeatedly and saying you should stop but you keep going anyway. That's never fun and should only be done on Tuesdays. Everyone knows that!
SuccessI have reached several of the goals set from the beginning. Here is a short list of the goals I have accomplished thus far. I finished my first novel, formatted it myself, sold my first book, someone has read and enjoyed it, and the latest goal I accomplished yesterday was to sell enough books to make the money back for the stock copies purchased. The only goals set that haven't been reached yet are for getting reviews and selling enough stock copies to require another order. I expect to reach every goal set and have been surprised at the amount of support thus far (all of the <3 for that! :) That is my measuring stick for success for the debut novel. No you can't use it. Why would you want to? You don't know where it's been, or where I have been, or where those snuggling Care Bears have been... Wait, where have YOU been? *runs away screaming something about Nutella*
Writing Progress Updates
Virtual Wars: Running (Writing First Draft)
Current word count: 18,049
The Ghost Season 1
Editing: Page 4 of 47