I am at the end of year 4 of my current 5-year plan when it comes to my writing career. (I can’t believe I started writing romance four years ago already.) My original plan went something like this:
Year 1/2011 – Write 2 romances, sell 1
Year 2/2012 – Write 4 romances, sell 2
Year 3/2013 – Write 6 romances, sell 4
Year 4/2014 – Write 6 romances, sell 6
Year 5/2015 – Write 6 romances, sell 6, be making enough to quit my job and write full-time
I published one romance in 2012, one in 2013,and 4 so far in 2014. And I quit my job to write full-time. That’s a pretty decent success rate.
But now my goals have changed. Now that I’m doing this as a career, not as an extra part-time job, I need to approach it in a different way.
The plan has two parts: what do you want, and how are going to make it happen. I can’t make people buy my books. I can’t choose to be on a best-seller list. I can’t even make a publisher offer me a contract. My part of the deal is to write and market my books as best I can.
In the event that I do become a best-selling writer, people told me to dream big. So I wrote a number on a piece of paper that had a lot of zeros after the dollar sign, and then I looked at it. What the hell am I going to do with $500,000 a year in royalties? More importantly, did I realize how hard I’d have to work to earn that kind of money?
I am incredibly lucky in my life. I have a nice home, reliable car, good health, and low expenses. I don’t need a lot. More importantly, I’m happy and I don’t want a lot. So what are my dreams for the future?
I’d like to travel more. See Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and all the little tropical islands I can find in the Pacific and Caribbean. (Winnipeg winters are long, people.) I’d like to update my electronics. Get a new kitchen. Splurge on some clothes. But if I’m being honest, I don’t want to upgrade from my Mazda to a Mercedes. I don’t want to buy a five-bedroom, three-car mansion in a gated community. I just want to continue to write and be happy.
I’m taking another pass at my five-year plan to see if I can dream a little bigger. But there’s not much bigger than happiness. And I’ve already got that.