I just read a blog post from David Walker over here, where he talked about the benefits of writing without any solid, specific goals in mind and the benefits of writing with a specific goal in mind. It was very thought-provoking, I felt. So I had to ask myself,
What are my goals?
in previous posts, about how I wish to write simply to write and be happy with writing, but will that be enough for me? I've always been insatiable. I've always had HUGE plans for my projects. I've always dreamed of seeing my ideas made into movies up on the big screen, in a theater full of happy movie-goers. I've always fantasized about standing up on that stage at the Kodak Theater, accepting an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. So...with my new frame of mind, will I revert back to those primal desires?
To be honest, sometimes I get a little scared thinking about how the hunger for fame could come back to eat at me. I just dig the lifestyle...jet-setting across the country for various premieres or signings, press junkets and whatnot; and the fact that there are people out there who may come to like your work so much that they set out to find anything you've done and soak it up.
I like that there could be someone out there who will hunt down any project I've ever made, just for the chance that they like it as much as anything else I've done. I do that with certain people. I like that there could be someone who will travel across two states just to get a signature or a picture with me. I guess part of that is a self-centered type attitude, but I also think it's just the desire to be noticed.
I've talked about how I changed my attitude toward writing. I never really outlined WHY I continued to fail in my projects before. I believe a large part of it was due to my parents divorcing when I was very young. Being an only child, it was just my mom and I for some time. That's where a lot of my imagination came from, I think. But in conjunction, I think that's where this hunger was born. My NEED to be noticed, loved, and famous. To make a name for myself. A name that everyone will know.
I love writing. I love creating characters, worlds, scenarios. I used to do it all the time as a child. I still do it now. It's so important to me to flex my mind and create. I love piecing together a particularly difficult sentence (I actually rearranged that last one). I love the satisfaction that comes with loving your work. I love going back and re-reading old stories I've created and cherished in the past. I love watching other people read my work, seeing their expressions. I love hearing their opinions about it - good or bad.
I know I'm not the best at it...so I suppose one goal I have would be to improve my skills. And that's why I write now. I no longer write to get rich and famous. That is not my singular purpose. That's why I've changed what I used to call "writing projects" to "exercises"...because they are meant to improve my skill. They're not "work".
So my main goal here is just what David Walker outlined in his blog post: to write these stories and then just put them away, satisfied with the final product. Now I'm not literally going to file them away and not do anything else with them. I will try to shop them around and see if any companies want to buy them or work with me. Because, while I do like writing for the sake of writing, I do want to try and make a living out of it someday. I'm not going to drop everything, though, and focus just on writing. I'm the type of guy who likes to eat and live under a roof...so I must pay the bills. So I have a 9-to-5. And I'm okay with that. So is my wife.
So my goals? They seem pretty vague, am I right? Write...and try to submit my work? More specifically, I guess, I want to come up with ideas, flesh them out, and create a full story. I want to do this enough times that it becomes easy...that the process of molding an idea into a story becomes second nature. To be able to build a story mentally a lot easier than before. I basically want to be a better writer.
That's goal number one. Long-term, for sure.
Another goal is to complete the ideas I already have. That's seven in total. I'm well into exercise number one, the "My Missing Brother" exercise - and on Saturday, I started making notes on my fifth exercise, the one involving the lives of my friends and I. I'm really excited about this one, and may even bump it up to my third exercise. :)
That's goal number two. That will take up a LOT of time, I'm positive.
Finally, I want to see what becomes of these. I won't be upset if nobody picks them up. I won't be crushed if I never achieve that level of fame that I used to fantasize about (and, admittedly, still do sometimes). I won't wonder why I don't have fans following me on Twitter or finding me for autographs or whatever. I'll be happy simply with the fact that I finished. But I do want to try. Because you never know. I could, one day, be living my dream as a full-time screenwriter - with more work than I know what to do with.
That's goal number three. That...yikes...will probably take the longest of the three.
But - I have goals.
Since I'm not writing TO BE successful, I won't be pushing too hard at some of those goals. I definitely want to finish the ideas I have currently, and I do want to improve as a writer. But that 9-to-5 is going to stand in my way, though as a partner, while I do that.
Do you struggle with goals? How many do you have set? Do you have someone to help keep your nose to the grindstone? Are your goals much different from mine, or do you weigh them differently? Let me know!
Thanks for reading.