Friday, July 20, 2012

The List of Qualities My Future Writing Career Will Have

When I was a teenager, I had this List of Qualities My Future Husband Will Have. I can’t remember if I ever wrote it down (I really, really hope I didn’t), but I can remember the entries well enough. Here's a representative sample:

1. He had to be tall, at least six feet (never mind that I’m five-three).

4. He had to have served a mission.

29. He couldn’t be, you know, stupid.

Now some of those entries weren't negotiable (no way was I going to spend eternity tethered to a meathead who couldn’t talk about really important things like the underlying axioms of microeconomics and, you know, college football), and some of them were (I really lucked out on the height requirement; Honey Bear is exactly eleven inches taller than I am), but they were all on the list, for better or for worse (pun intended).

The other day, I realized I’ve had another list brewing in my head for quite some time, the List of Qualities My Future Writing Career Will Have*, and since this one isn’t quite so embarrassing, I thought I’d share it with you.

The Really, Really Important Stuff

1. My books have to be published by reputable, well-respected publishers. “Reputable” and “well-respected” are kind of vague terms, I know, but I prefer them that way. And notice that I DIDN’T say my books have to be published by one of the Big Six. Pretty much every publisher that falls under that umbrella is reputable and well-respected, but there are plenty of reputable, well-respected publishers that don’t, and I would be perfectly happy--no, perfectly ecstatic--to be published by one of them.

2. My books have to appear in print, at least in the current market. Maybe in ten years, the whole market will be e-only, but for now, I can’t imagine feeling as if I’ve done what I set out to do if I can’t hold my books in my hands.

The Somewhat Important Stuff

1. I want to be able to walk into a bookstore and/or library and see my books on the shelf.

2. I want to hold a book signing or go on a school visit someday.

Now your list may look quite different; in fact, I’m pretty sure it will. No two writers are alike, so no two lists should look alike, either. And I’m sure my list will grow and change over time, too, but for now, it is what it is. (I’m actually really glad it’s kind of short.)

So what are some of the entries on your List of Qualities My Future Writing Career Will Have?

*This is, of course, assuming that I even have a future writing career, which, at the moment, is kind of a big assumption, but one you’ll have to grant me:)


Kristin Rae said...

I think we all have lists, so you're not alone!

A big one on my list is to get an agent, since I'm still querying. :) But once I manage to turn the head of one of those, I'd LOVE to be in print print, on the bookshelf at a bookstore. And to have a book launch party at the indie bookstore in town. Sigh. A girl can dream!

E.B. Black said...

My list only has one entry: I'd like to be able to make a living off of my writing. Whether it be self-published or traditional, e-books or physical, I don't care. I just want to be able to make a living doing what I love.

Julie DeGuia said...

I would say your list and mine are similar. I feel the same way about publishers and holding an actual book and flipping the pages.

The book I am writing will (if it gets that far) have some pictures so an illustrator that I love is on top of my list as well.

Beth Hull said...

My list looks a lot like yours. I'd also add E.B.'s list, though - I want to make a living from it. Someday. Eventually.

It's all part of the dream, right?

E.D. said...

That is a good list and a great analogy :-)

Mina Lobo said...

Right now I feel I'd simply enjoy being able to earn a comfortable living from my writing and have a wonderful space in which to do it. Millions of adoring fans would be pretty groovy, too. :-)
Some Dark Romantic

Jen said...

My number one is to have a movie made of my novel. With my input, of course. But really I'd take any on your list and everyone else's.

Beth Christopher said...

Love your list! Mine is similar. I'd love to do a reading at the Tattered Cover, an independently owned AMAZING bookstore in Denver. Dreamy!

katherineamabel said...

Haha I had a similar list only it detailed principles I'd uphold when I became Prime Minister! As for writing goals, I've always had so much respect for the set texts in my higher school certificate English classes that I'd love my work to be selected. Nerd heaven!

Betsy Andrews Etchart said...

Like my list of Qualities in a Husband, my list of Qualities in a Writing Career have changed with time. My initial Qualities in a Husband List (forgive me, it was long ago) was: Smart. Funny. Tall. Handsome. Well edicuated. Great skier. Gainfully- and preferably self-employed. Australian or New Zealand accent a plus. Must like dogs.
My initial Qualities in a Writing Career was: Must have contract within the next six months. Must make decent living writing for children.
Ten years later, the New and Improved Qualities in a Husband List read like this: Kind. Heterosexual. Good listener. Smart. Funny. Gainfully employed. Not a sociopath. Preferably not a convicted felon. Good grammar a plus. Must like cats.
And the New and Improved Qualities in a Writing Career List became: I will get an agent for my novel. I will finish my novel (again). I will have a blog.
I can say at last that I can check everything off the New and Improved Husband List. Let me tell you, No small feat. As far as the New and Improved Writing Career list...well, I've got the blog.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Kristin, up until a few months ago, getting an agent was a big one on my list, too. You'll get there, hopefully with your current project.

That's a great goal, E.B. I've been really lucky in that I haven't had to rely on my career to pay the bills, but if I did, I'd certainly want that career to be a writing one.

Good point, Julie. Illustrators can make or break your book, so good luck with that.

It is all part of the dream, Beth. In fact, I almost titled this post "My Dream." :)

Thanks, E.D.!

But we're not greedy, right, Mina? We'd take thousands of adoring fans, too:)

Way to aim high, Jen! To be honest, the thought of having my books made into movies still kind of scares me. I'd just be so afraid it wouldn't match my vision!

Other Beth, I've heard all about the Tattered Cover:) Great goal.

Katherine, your comment made me smile:) I hope you get there someday. What a unique, interesting goal.

Betsy, thanks for sharing your lists! You bring up a great point--our lists will change over time. It will be interesting to revisit this list in five or ten years and see what I've accomplished and what I would add/change.

Kimberly said...

I cracked up at your future husband list. I had one of those too.

I like your future writing career list, it's similar to mine. For myself I'd add finding an agent that loves my work and style and writing full time. :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Kimberly, good luck with that agent hunt. I'm living proof that anyone can land an agent, even if it takes you four-plus years to do so:)

Anonymous said...

I totally did one of those future husband lists, too. This is making me wonder if I have still have it around somewhere. Must go hunting.

I'm with you on the whole having one of my books appear in print and being able to find it in a bookstore or library. That would be amazing.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Sounds like we're two peas in a pod, janealfalor:)