Expectations vs Goals

Holly Lisle was a huge source of inspiration for me in college when I was saving up for my dream of writing. Here is one of the posts she made that stuck with me:

You embrace expectations when you:
* imagine that you’ll get glowing letters from editors,
* dream that you’ll sell your first novel in a cut-throat auction
between your two most cherished publishing houses for an ungodly
amount of money,
* write the fantasy review of your yet-unwritten novel that uses
the words “ground-breaking,” “brilliant,” and “mind-blowing genius”
all in the same sentence,
* and when, lying in bed staring at the ceiling at night, you’re
picking out the wardrobe for you Pulitzer acceptance speech.

You set goals when you:
* decide you’re going to finish the first draft of your first
novel in one year,
* when you determine that you’ll revise the whole thing in less
than one year,
* select five appropriate publishers to whom you will submit,
* and when you nail the card to the wall that says “I will keep
submitting stories until I have accumulated a thousand rejection
slips.”

It’s important to separate the illusion of writer as rock star from the reality of what it means to write every day and go back and do the same thing tomorrow. Live in reality! Humble yourself, and you will be a better writer for it.

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