So, here's what I see:
That's me: the woman standing in a patch of sunlight just in front of the dark cave she just traversed. She's alone, but in a self-reliant rather than lonely way, because even if you are lucky enough to have support (which I am), in the end you have to rely on yourself and take the walk yourself. Your cheerleaders can't walk it for you.
I like this picture because of the darkness opening into light and because there's still so much that you can't yet see. The as-yet unseen possibilities.
Right now, I am firmly on my journey towards my end goal of making my living as a writer only. I've had some success: finished things, had some work accepted, got some kudos and gushy reviews, won an award. I've learned a lot. I've been touched by the light, and enjoyed the warmth on my skin and I covet more of that. But I haven't arrived yet. (I suspect I'll never feel like I've "arrived" . . .that's the way of epic journeys and life quests; they just lead to other journeys).
In 2013, I committed to a daily writing habit, which was a complete gamechanger for me. I took myself seriously as a writer, and finally started to get somewhere after playing around for most of my life.
In 2013, I made it to the end of a novel for the first time (an under the bed book, which may or may not ever get revised and published), and in 2014, a second time (it turned out to be my debut: Going Through the Change).
In 2014, I got my first book contract, and in 2015 my first book came out. 2016 saw my second book on the shelves and a few anthology stories under my belt. 2017 looks promising so far, with two anthologies and one novel already expected and scheduled.
Somewhere along the line, I latched onto the number FIVE as a magic and talismanic number. It's a number that seems to come up a lot when people talk about making a career as a writer. More than one writer on a panel I've attended or in an essay I've read has said that they didn't start to make a living at it until their fifth book.
I'm sure it's not that simple, but that's been my target: five books. One a year. So, if I can keep up that pace, I'll have my fifth book out in 2019. Right now, I'm pushing my menopausal superheroes series, because it's what I've gotten traction with, but I'm trying to get the wheels spinning on some other projects, too.
So, in five years? Wishes/hopes/goals: By 2021:
- My Menopausal Superheroes series is finished, published and selling well. In fact, someone in TV or movies is looking at it.
- I've finished my heart's project that keeps getting back-burnered right now, a historical fiction trilogy that's really a love story to my great grandmother, Lena and have seen it to publication.
- I've made enough money from writing three months in a row to pay the mortgage with.
- I've been the literary guest of honor at at least one con.
- I've been able to drop to a part time day job
- I'm a member of SFWA, having gotten several of my short stories published in the markets that garner you that honor
How will I get there? The same way I've gotten this far: doggedness, hard work, and remaining open to what there is to learn.
So how about you, fellow IWSGers (and other readers)? Where can I find you in five years? What's your pie-in-the-sky version and your more practical one? I'd love to hear your stories.
If you're not already following #IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you should really check it out. The monthly blog hop is a panoply of insight into the writing life at all stages of hobby and career. Search the hashtag in your favorite social media venue and you'll find something interesting on the first Wednesday of every month.