WordPress Daily prompt: “Lofty”

When I think of my writing goals, there are two distinct types: daily goals, and the more ineffable “lofty” goals.

Daily goals are fairly simple: write that blog post, do 30 minutes of writing practice in the notebook, write that piece for the memoir class (not necessarily all in one day, mind you). If I’m writing a short story-something I haven’t done for awhile-write the next scene, or work on revision. Small, achievable goals that I can chip away at, and feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve shown up, which is half the battle.

But what about those “lofty” goals? In other words, where do I want this writing thing to take me? What kind of writer do I want to be? What has to occur before I consider myself “successful”?

These are the kinds of things I’ve been thinking about lately. I don’t necessarily feel like I have to have it all figured out, but a general direction, a focus for my energies wouldn’t hurt. I love blogging, I love the immediacy of it, the community it engenders. I could probably do this everyday for the rest of my life and it would make me happy.

But what about that traditionally published book I’ve dreamed about? Blogging takes up precious free time, time I could be spending on that novel (I’ve got several rough drafts lying around). Instead I’m mucking about with blog posts (it’s so fun!) and memoir snippets (I have no intention of writing a memoir right now) and essay attempts that only end up on the blog anyway. Look at all these words I’m writing!

But if I’m honest with myself, the reason I became a writer is to write novels. Worlds of wonder, places I (and readers) can go to and play in for awhile, the kind of books I’ve loved and cherished and gone back to again and again. The reason I became a writer was because I read these wonderful books and I thought, I want to do that.

And I did-I wrote long, episodic fantasy stories, with characters so real to me I dreamed about them. I’ve written two other novels that remain in rough draft status, and I’ve got several other ideas that are in various states of notes, character sketches and first chapters. Why have I abandoned them?

Well, it has to be said that writing a novel is hard work. After that first creative rush of getting it all down, you have to go back and revise and rewrite and revise and rewrite, to get it into any kind of shape for publication. And that’s a long, tedious process, at least to me. You have to be in it for the long haul. And, I’m ashamed to admit, I’m as susceptible as anyone to the joys of instant gratification. Thus, the wonderful, distracting world of blogging! After spending so many years slogging through writing alone, with little or no feedback, how can I not love the instant likes and comments and follows of the blogging world?

Don’t get me wrong-blogging is a great platform for writers, and just plain fun for anyone. And maybe I needed this fun and interesting path on my writing journey. But it’s time to start thinking about those lofty goals again. Where do I want these words to take me? Whole worlds await. Characters are whispering to me, Come back. We need you. 

And you know what? I need them.


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