I’m going to be frank. For the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain this month, I must answer the question:
“What is your ultimate goal as a writer?”
I know my ultimate goal pretty clearly.
I want to be published.
Not once. Not twice. I want to get as many books published as I have ideas. And that would be a lot.
But why? It isn’t like I only want the money. If I wanted money, I wouldn’t be a writer. Though the ability to write without worrying about money is appealing, it isn’t quite what I want. To share my stories with other people… eh. I can do that without getting published. To affect people? Maybe. I don’t care that much about other people’s lives, though. (That sounded horrible. I meant to say that I don’t mind if I write entertainingly or meaningfully– it’s all the same to me.) To entertain? Perhaps, but again, I don’t care much for that.
So why? Perhaps it’s personal gratification. To be awesome is a great goal.
The similarity between all these goals, so called, is their obvious finitude. The first time I get published, I will get enough money to support me for a while. I will get the opportunity to share stories with other people, touching and entertaining them at will. I will be famous for however long a time. And once that happens, what’s my goal? Eventually the money will run out. Eventually people will stop being touched and entertained by the same story. Eventually, I will drop off the New York Times bestseller list. What is left? To do it all again? Why?
I don’t want an infinite loop. I want something that you can’t achieve in a single day or publishing deal. Something I would really have to work for, and wouldn’t stop working for until I died.
I have always written for myself. Whatever I write, if it isn’t something I would enjoy, it isn’t worthwhile. I have had ideas for original romance novels (an oxi-moron in itself), but I’ve pursued none of them, because they don’t interest me. I write what I would enjoy. And the only reason I do that is because I didn’t find everything I would enjoy on the shelves already. Often, there came times when I would go to the Brian Jacques shelf (my favorite haunt in the library for years) and find nothing I hadn’t already memorized. I loved those books so much, but there weren’t enough of them.
But there were things about Jacques that even I didn’t like. In other books, I would find other stories that worked better for me, but even they weren’t perfect. Perfect books don’t exist.
That is, unless you write them yourself.
Even then, that isn’t enough. To read a book takes anywhere from an hour to a month, and once it’s finished, what do you do? Start it again? Who would want to read the same thing over and over again? But who would want to read other, imperfect books while you’re waiting to come upon the next amazing one?
Alexandre Dumas is one of my favorite authors. The best thing about him, I think, is that I could read The Count of Monte Cristo, enjoy it immensely, and then read all his other books and enjoy them just as much. Of all the Dumas classics I have read, I haven’t disliked a single one. Compare to the authors of today. I read The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, but haven’t read any of his other books because they didn’t interest me. John Flanagan has written eleven amazing books in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, but his later trilogy, the Brotherband Chronicles, can’t compare. Some authors are one-hit wonders who believe, now they’ve published one book, they can publish anything.
So this is my ultimate goal: I want to write perfect books, and as many as I possibly can. Now, I know my perfect books will not be perfect for everyone, but I know there is going to be one kid, wandering through the library, having just finished his favorite series for the millionth time. He will walk down the shelves, hands in his pockets, glancing here and there at thick books with interesting titles. He’s read them all. But then he comes to the last shelf and sees a rack of books– my books– and he will pick one up, and he will read it. Once he’s finished, he will read the rest of them as quickly as he can. And when he reaches the end of that shelf, he will realize that he wants to read his favorite series again. I was that kid once, and I want to give my future incarnation a new favorite series that he will love forever. I know he’ll finish it sometime, but when he does, I want him to feel satisfied– not bummed that this guy only wrote three books, but satisfied that he finally found something new and amazing to read. I want to give such a great series that no one will even think of writing fanfiction for it.
I want to keep writing throughout my life, until I die. And when I do, it will become physically impossible for me to write any more books. I will be satisfied that I have filled up a hole in the literary world with something that I think is perfect.
But everlasting fame and fortune wouldn’t be half bad either.
Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:
26th – http://anqiyu.wordpress.com/
29th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)