On Monday, I spoke of goals. One goal I want to caution against is Fame. Fame, in-and-of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. And WANTING fame isn't necessarily bad, either. But pursuit of fame can lead to disappointment, heartbreak, disillusionment, bitterness, and pride. Not the good pride, either. There's nothing wrong with pride in a job well-done.
I know this from personal experience. And I almost gave up on my writing several times because of it. I daydreamed all the time about becoming a famous author, spending all of my free time traveling the world with my family, spending money willy-nilly, and hanging out on the sets of TV shows to discuss my new masterpiece. I knew it was unlikely, but I figured that the smallest possibility made it worth daydreaming about.
Then, with every rejection, every change needed on my manuscript, I grew angry. I'd been told that my writing was good by people who had no reason to lie. People who couldn't care less if I got "hurt" by their honesty (I never did, by the way). So I let it go to my head and whined about "my turn" and "what's wrong with my book?"
Even then I was wise enough to at least assume that agents and editors know the market and the quality of someone's writing better than I did. So I did hold the responsibility solely on my shoulders.
Then something funny happened: I read my book one more time, fixed it as much as possible, and sent it out to an agent who seemed VERY interested. And I got a rejection. It made me feel free! I didn't have to work on that book again. It wasn't a BAD book, but it wasn't very good.
But I'd written a short story that I enjoyed quite a bit. And my critique group got really irritated with me for leaving it as a short story. But I took that universe, created new characters, and wrote a new book. The one I'm working on now.
I remembered why I started writing. It's because I love it. And I want to write high-quality books for young readers. There are so many high-quality books in the marketplace for the YA audience that that makes my job very difficult. And it's a challenge toward which I'm striving. I may get famous some day. But it's unlikely. What's more important is that I'm pursuing the best possible book I could ever write. As of this moment, I can say definitively that I have never written something this good. How it stands up to other novels is yet to be judged and will be left to agents, editors, and ultimately, the reading public.
But fame isn't my goal. And I'm happier for it.