While the prospect of writing new books with the promise of actually having them published is invigorating (invigorating here meaning either “pee-your-pants exciting” or “pee-your-pants scary,” depending on mood), it has prompted me to reconsider what my personal goals as an author are. (I would say artiste, but this is a non-fiction piece, mostly.) And since we have recently dropped the ball and ushered in a new year, I find it a fitting time to list a few of those goals, providing a benchmark by which I may judge myself from the future, and perhaps giving any aspiring writers out there some yardsticks they can measure themselves by as well. So here, in no particular order, are my current goals as a budding author of middle grade fiction.
1. Pay my mortgage.
2. Write something that makes people cry (not in pain or disgust).
3. Have one of my characters turned into an action figure, preferably with moveable joints and a detachable cape.
4. Be nominated for an award that comes with a sticker. I like stickers.
5. Walk by some kid at the pool reading one of my books and have him snap his fingers and say, “Hey, aren’t you the guy who works at the coffee place?”
6. Not disappoint anyone (gotta aim high, right?)
7. Make enough money to transition from unhealthy, off-brand boxed dinners to unhealthy, premium-brand boxed dinners.
8. Write a dirty limerick for the inauguration of a future President of the United States.
9. Learn to spell the word sandwich correctly the first time, every time.
10. Be asked to sign someone’s forehead in lieu of a book.
11. Make it onto some popular magazine’s list of top twenty middle-aged, love-handle-laden, Diet-Coke-and-Atomic-Fireball-addicted authors to watch out for.
12. Have one of my books narrated by James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman together.
13. Make it to the second round on the show Wipeout (not necessarily writing related—just a dream, really).
14. Get a completely digitally-enhanced photo of me on the jacket of one of my novels showing how I bear an uncanny resemblance to Chris Hemsworth.
15. Entertain my readers well enough to maybe get to do this for three more books…
I will settle for eight out of fifteen.