I have always been a planner. I love to do lists, goals, dreams, timelines – anything I can write into a cute notebook and tick off in green pen, I’m there.
I planned my way into being an author. It had always been the end goal, and in every way, I prepared. I made lists of the magazines I sent stories off to, ticking each one off as I put it into the envelope (yes, that’s what we did back then).
I counted down as I reached the end of my first novel, stacking up word counts, chapters and the number of times I used the ‘f’ word (63, if you want to know).
And then I had a novel. Phase one complete. Phase two? Get it published.
That was all I knew. Write a novel, get published.
The thing is, they don’t tell you that is just the beginning of the story. Publication is the big goal, it’s huge. But no one tells you that the journey just starts there.
I was a few books in before I realised I should be looking at aiming small, reaching my goals. How many books did I want to write in a year? How many reviews did I want? How many days on my blog tour, how many retweets, how many Facebook updates, how many printed postcards and royalty payments?
Everything became quantified. And it lost its joy.
Goals don’t need to be about the numbers. Goals are determined by success. And who decides what success is? You do.
Each author decides what success means to them. When I started, it was just seeing the book out there in the world. I hadn’t even gotten to the idea of people reading it! The next book it was defined by reviews, and the third was that I loved the story. Each book started to create its own goals, and my success was not about how many I sold, but how proud I was of the work.
You will decide what success looks like to you – whether it’s finishing a story or selling 10,000 copies. You get to decide what makes you feel proud. Small goals work towards that – taking baby steps up the mountain, knowing there will always be another story and another reader and another day. This book does not have to be your opus, it doesn’t have to define you. Maybe this book is you exploring, or having fun. Maybe it’s you telling the truth. Maybe it’s epic and deserves more attention than it will get.
But you can only do so much – there are excellent books out there that should be bestsellers, and aren’t. There are terrible books that make millionaires of their authors. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason. There is only creating.
The dream is big, but the steps are small. Write one word, and then another. A chapter, then another. Write, edit, write, edit. Breathe. Dream as much as you can, as long as it pushes you forward. Dream of agents and editors, acceptance letters, movie deals and holidays paid with royalties. Dream of those you respect saying lovely things about your novel, and dream of giving up the day job.
Dream so much it almost hurts.
And then get to work.
A feel-good story of self-discovery and love, join Mia in the beautiful Italian island of Ischia. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.
Since her mother died when Mia was a child, her dad has been her best friend and her idol. Now, the cancer he survived years before is back, and this time there’s no fighting it. To make matters worse her dad’s last request is for Mia to leave him and visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia so she doesn’t have to be there at the end.
Arriving at the sun-soaked island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy family she doesn’t know. While she waits for the phone to ring with the dreaded news, Mia desperately looks for a connection to the mother she never knew. Stumbling upon an antique shop run by the charming Antonio and his grouchy but handsome grandson Salvatore, she throws herself into helping with the shop restoration. As Mia and Salvatore’s bickering soon turns to chemistry, will she risk having her heart broken when she knows what’s waiting for her at home?