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March 7, 2010 / Melissa Yuan-Innes

Writing Goals and Dreams, est. 2010, modified 2013

What does success mean to you?

Kris Rusch’s post on writing goals vs. dreams dovetailed with my exercises from Creating a Life Worth Living and my own reflections from my previous post.  Basically, I like people and I like excitement.  I would also like to save the world, but that’s a little harder.

So when I read Brad Torgersen’s writing goals, I was like, hmm.  These are so logical.  Of course it makes sense to catalogue your sales and set them up, brick by brick, until you make enough money to quit your day job.

But I like my day job.  I may never quit emergency medicine.

I get my jollies in other ways I can’t even anticipate.  For example, when I attended WorldCon after winning Writers of the Future, I bought my brother a first edition book by Guy Gavriel Kay.

The bookseller asked me my name.  He recognized it and said, “Thank you.”  Although I would never have stated that was one of my goals, it made me feel like I’d “made it,” in some small way, when a stranger–and clearly, a well-read book lover–recognized my name alone and thanked me for writing.

So, as the quiz pointed out, I’m an attention whore.  And I might as well work it.

Melissa Yuan-Innes, milestones en route to success:

(X) … I make my first professional sale.

(X) … I make my 2nd professional sale.

(_) … I sell and publish short pieces regularly.

(X) … Someone recognizes me from my name alone and says “Thank you” for something I’ve written.

(X) … First fan letter.

(X) … Second fan letter.

(X) … I write and have kids.

(X) … I write and have kids and do medicine.

(X) … Writing connects me with people, places, and things that excite me.

(X) …  Glimpse enlightenment. Strange but true.  I didn’t think it would happen to me

( ) …  Maintain enlightenment. Turns out to be much harder

( ) …  Continue to do yoga and maintain balance in my life We’ll see how this one pans out

(X) … I help someone else achieve publication/creative success

(X) … Someone else makes something beautiful, inspired by my work

(_) … I gain a national audience for my writing*

*Not sure what to say about these because I’ve started indie-publishing my novels.  So I do have a national/international audience, but it’s not exactly a following. Yet.

(_) … I gain an international audience for my writing*

(_) … I earn regular income from book sales

(_) … I make significant novel sales

(_) … My novels become bestsellers

(X) … I make four figures a year from my writing

(X) … I make $5000 a year from my writing

(X) … I make five figures a year from my writing

(X) … I make five figures a year for two years in a row, from my writing

(_) … I make six figures a year from my writing

(_) … Max and Anastasia see my books in the bookstore/on other people’s readers.

(_) … People laugh and weep when they read my work and tell me about it when they line up for my autograph.

(_) … People ask me why I bother to do medicine because I’m such a writing goddess.

(_) … I could quit my day job and write full-time, whether or not I choose to do this.

(_) … People continue to read my work after I die

Yes, I know I can’t check the last one off.  Maybe my e-executor can do it for me.

Anyone else willing to share their goals?


Leave a Comment
  1. Brad R. Torgersen / Mar 7 2010 6:08 pm

    Wow, an excellent list! I had no idea anyone was paying attention to mine, beyond me that is. Thanks.

    Your very last line on yours makes me sit very still, and think. “People continue to read my work after I die.” That is a sobering — awe-inspiring? — goal. I’d certainly like to hope that I am, at some point, producing work that is impacting enough that people will still want to read it long after I am gone.

    • melissayuaninnes / Mar 7 2010 6:37 pm

      Hi Brad,
      Aw, c’mon, you knew we were reading yours because you got comments. 🙂 But thanks for reading mine and not thinking I’m crazy, even though I’m not linear like you.

      I kind of threw that last goal on. Anne Frank wrote, “I want to go on living even after my death!” which is pretty sobering. But I guess for me, in the end, whatever money we make or trinkets we buy will crumble, but it would be nice to create a perpetual legacy.

  2. cindie geddes / Mar 8 2010 1:26 am

    I love the detail you’ve put into your list. It’s a great one. Kind of a writing bucket list.

  3. Des / Mar 10 2010 2:33 pm

    Love the list!

  4. Des / Mar 10 2010 2:35 pm

    Also love thigh high boots. Now I’ve got to work on my list in an effort to combine the two…

  5. melissayuaninnes / Mar 10 2010 2:44 pm

    Ooh, thanks, Cindie and Des. I showed you my bucket (and post-bucket) list…wanna show me yours? 🙂

    Des, maybe you could reward yourself with thigh high boots for some writing-related goal? It’s end of season sale time!

    I have actually researched boots in the past two days and the slut factor is huge. Some people think you shouldn’t show any skin above the boot, should wear with caution after age 40, should only wear opaque black hose…man! For me (leader/adventurer), it makes me want to rebel even more.

    I think it’s easy to wear them with a skirt but hard with pants. Here’s an example of it done well, IMO:


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