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What’s in it for Me?

April 16, 2010

We may tell ourselves that we’re selfless or incredibly charitable. I personally don’t know anyone who would, however, for a clear reason.

No one is.

As human beings, we are persistently on the look-out for ways to profit from what we do. I don’t mean to imply that we’re entirely selfish. We’re a muddy mix of weaknesses and strengths. Still, I believe we can all agree that very few of us make a habit of employing ourselves for hours on end, working toward a certain goal, without expecting some kind of return. Our survival instincts ensure that we don’t exert ourselves for too long before replenishing our sources, before gaining.

This rule applies to writing as well. Every one of us wants to accomplish something.

You might want to make it onto the NYT bestsellers list, become wealthy, travel abroad on tours, write for a prestigious magazine, work with famous authors, change someone’s life, or simply see your name in print. Heck, you might be searching for enlightenment or a way of releasing stress.

Undoubtedly, our horizons will broaden. We’ll reach the minor goals and larger ones will take form. As it stands, I want to see my name in print. Eventually, I’d like to make a decent profit from writing and write as my career. I’d also like to edit. Those are my goals. I wouldn’t feel too terrible if I saw my name on the NYT bestsellers list. It all sounds pretty spiffy, but I’d just like my Goodreads profile to read Goodreads Author.

Some of our hopes are more reasonable than others, some are borderline, and some are particularly unlikely. That’s the thing about hope, though; it’s not clearly defined. It doesn’t even have to be physically possible. Some little tyke’s might hope they’ll learn to fly someday. For the moment, the hope’s enough. They can get a little taste of it just from the dream. Luckily for us writers, most of our writing goals are achievable.

What are your short-term and long-term aspirations? What do you want to get out of this ideally lifelong experience?

Again folks: You could win one of five copies of Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Really, please enter! It’ll be good for you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2010 7:04 PM

    While I would love to do this for a living, my inner dream is just to be able to walk into a major bookstore and see a book with my name sitting on the shelf. So, like you, it is to see my name in print. But really, who is going to complain if their book lands on the NYT bestseller list?

    Short term though? I just want to be able to sit in front of my printer and watch my first draft print out. That alone will have me doing cartwheels!

    • April 16, 2010 7:28 PM

      I hope you reach that point soon! It’s fantastic. And it’s even better to hold it in your hands! 😀

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