By Laura Drake
I’m not talking about getting published, or seeing your book on a shelf.
Think back to when you first entertained the notion of putting the story in your head onto paper (or in pixels.) What did you hope to accomplish back then?
I’ll bet it wasn’t to beat Stephen King’s annual income, or to see your book as a movie.
It was closer to the bone than that, wasn’t it? I’ll bet it was things like:
- Wanting someone to escape their burdens for a few hours, living in your story
- Having another human realize that they’re not alone in what they feel
- To entertain people
- To inform people about the other side to an issue
- To Educate
That’s what storytellers do. Isn’t that why you started writing to begin with? For whatever reason, you wanted to be a storyteller.
But on the road to becoming a storyteller, it’s easy to get distracted.
I live in Southern California. Yes, the country of Baywatch, 90210, Housewives of Orange County. All around me, I see people trying to live an image. When new houses went up near me (I live in an older section,) people camped out on a sidewalk overnight for the opportunity to bid astronomical amounts for them. When they moved in, they had sheets over the windows for a year, because they couldn’t afford drapes. But they had a prestigious address! People get caught up in what their neighbors are buying, and feel they have to keep up.
They’ve forgotten that the goal is to be happy – and things don’t make you happy.
I think we do the same in writing. We start with a lofty goal like those above. But we talk to other writers, hear others’ stories, and pretty soon, we’re chasing the same golden ring. But when we started, we didn’t want a gold ring – we wanted a good story that would resonate with one person.
Me? I wanted to write some sentences so shiny, new, and perfect, that people would read them and think, “Yes, I never heard it put that way before, but that’s exactly what it feels like!”
So, with the New Year, I’m not making resolutions, or goal setting. Instead, I’m trying to keep my focus on why I started on this crazy journey to begin with.
Because, ultimately, that is what will make me happy.
So? What was your goal, when you started this journey?