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Long-Term Goals
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SarahP (who, incidentally, I suspect will be the most famous writer I know in about five years) has a nice post about long-term goal setting. Career-level, blue sky, in-your-dreams stuff. I don't tend to meticulously plan farther ahead than a year or so (I know what I'm writing this year, but not next year), but occasionally I think about what I'd like to have happen in my writing career. (My non-writing life is a whole separate thing -- I have very specific middle and long-term goals there.) Is there a value in setting goals like this? Well, maybe, if you keep in mind that there are some goals you can't realistically control, but having something to shoot for can provide some guidance, and maybe even a beacon in dark times... So, inspired by Sarah:

When I got out of college, I was already writing a lot and working hard to improve, so my goals were more about career goalposts than about craft issues (consider those craft issues an ongoing obsession; just because I don't mention them here doesn't mean I'm not thinking about them constantly). At, oh, age 22 my goals were these:

Sell a story to a professional magazine.

Sell enough stories to qualify as active, and join HWA and SFWA. (Hollow laugh of hindsight.)

Get a story in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror

Attend a professional-level writing workshop.

Publish a story collection.

Get an agent.

Sell a novel by age 30.

Okay, I managed all those, and achieved a few things I never expected and didn't ever consider goals -- major genre award nominations, a reprint in The Best American Short Stories, etc.

So what are my new goals, for the next five years? Crazy goals, including things I can't control?

Sell film rights to the Marla Mason series. (Or anything else, but this series seems most likely.)

Sell some of my books overseas.

Earn out an advance.

Make enough money from writing to make the jump to writing full-time.

Discover Marla Mason fanfic online.

License the rights for a Marla Mason action figure. (Quite possibly the most ludicrous thing on this list, but McFarlane Toys, I'm looking at you!)

See a comic book adaptation of my work.

Keep publishing books that aren't part of the fantasy series, along with books that are.

Sell a story to F&SF (Okay, maybe that's the most ludicrous thing here, since I've been submitting there steadily for about 13 years now without success...)

Get nominated for a World Fantasy Award.

Get one of those shiny dump bins at the front of a bookstore, with my urban fantasy series prominently displayed.

Write a New York Times bestseller.

Host a writing retreat at the fabulous house I'll someday own.

That's probably enough. Most of those are out of my control, but I'll do all the work I can to make them come to pass.

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