Where is this all going? – Redefining success

I alluded in my last post what being a writer to me is.

“[…] Writers write. Being published, even read, that’s irrelevant. Writers write. That’s the only thing that defines a writer.”

In that sense I’m quite successful, I can and do write. That’s more of an epiphany than you might think, I called my blog Aspiring because I thought I was an aspiring writer, a nascent storyteller, yet still not on the mark, however that’s not the truth. I might be trying to learn to be better at writing, but that’s irrelevant. I write, therefore I’m a writer.

What I really am is an aspiring author. I’m trying to hone my craft to the level I feel comfortable sharing my works, with little or no qualification. That’s not as easy as it sounds, I’m highly self critical. To accept something I’ve written to be good enough to publish to the world, (whether that’s through this blog, through self publishing ebooks, or through submitting to publishers), is no small feat. I have done it, like with the sci fi serial I posted for a while, (and since taken down because I wasn’t happy with it), and the daily flash fiction challenge I did, (albeit with lots of qualifiers about quality and haste, all 140+ short stories are still there – so that’s something, right?).

I’ve decided I want to take this seriously though. I want to leave my mark in one fashion or another, and there’s one thing that I’m good enough that has the chance of being indelible, and that’s writing. What I do at work is transient, it’s replaced by the next big thing pretty much monthly, I don’t have any particular insights into my job that would like to a new methodology being named for me. It’s not modesty, because I do some amazing stuff. Now writing, I don’t know if I’d ever be good enough to be remembered beyond myself, but there’s a greater chance of it.

Millions of stories, books, every year get forgotten about. It’s actually kind of sad when you think about it. However thousands will be remembered by people, thousands will affect lives, and some of those will go on and be read and remembered by future generations.

When you read Jane Austen, HG Wells, Frank Herbery, Tolkien, DH Lawrence, even things like Beowulf, you’re contributing to the immortality of not just the characters, but the writers. And I find that tremendously exciting, to be connected with these fantastic talents across the bridge of years. So of course, I’d like to try my hand at that – not that I’m saying I can, but I am saying I can try. It requires refocusing myself, and really aspiring. All I’m saying is it’s possible, it’s exciting, and it’s worthwhile.

Even if I somehow miss, (and I won’t know that until the day I give up writing stories), I’ll still have all the fun of crafting my stories into words.

So there’s a few milestones I need to get past on the way, which I’m going to explore over several posts. Here’s a few key ones that I need to do for this year’s NaNoWriMo:

  • A good story idea (and all the elements that implies like interesting characters, a compelling arc, fascinating sub-plots, etc)
  • Clear writing, (no needlessly using overcomplicated or antiquated words – I’m not trying to win over critics, I’m trying to win over as many readers as I am capable of)
  • Focusing as much time, (or indeed more), on my second draft as the first draft
  • Pure dedication to the art of editing, and re-editing, (ad inifinitum), until the story is finely honed. Then I’ll consider having a third party take it further.
  • Promotion of my self and my novel, which is a bit of a tough one because I’ve no idea where to start, but I’ll cross that bridge once I know I’ve got a story I want to push that far.
  • The right vehicle from myself to my readers, (whether it’s publishing to my blog, to ebook stores, or whatever – whichever is right for the novel)

So if that’s my challenge, when am I going to do it? When else? NaNoWriMo. My goal of this NaNoWriMo is a complete first draft of a novel. I think I’ll aim for the 200k mark, assuming I’ll lose half in editing and re-editing, that should leave me with a reasonable sized novel.

To do that I’m going to have to be prepared, so this will be another planning year. That gives me 66 days to get ready. This week I’ll filter my ideas down to just a couple and then make my final decision, and dedicate myself to two months of detailed plans. Characters, scenes, plots all detailed ready to be pulled together into a story.

This year, (well next by time I’ve finished finishing) editing and such), will be the year I finally make an attempt at doing something with my writing, if I’ve got something that warrants it, that is, if not I’ll immediately start a new project. The first draft and first round of editing will be completed before moving onto another project – because anything less would be defeatist, than realistically evaluating what I’ve written.

It doesn’t do to preface a challenge with failure, but what’s the worst that can happen? If I don’t succeed, if I don’t have millions of people feverishly pouring over my words, I’ll still be a writer, and I’ll still be enjoying writing. This is merely another level hopefully.

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