Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


One Life, One Goal

Today is my 48th birthday, and so thinking about goals seems appropriate.

Ever since I was in grade school my primary dream/goal has been to be an author. Over the intervening years I have kept the faith and continued the quest -- through the rise (and eventual decline) of Minimalism, the supposed Death of the Novel, the resurgence of Children’s Literature (thanks, Harry Potter!), the dawn of the Information Age, and on into a new Millennium. Along the way -- while juggling jobs, relationships, and my own family -- I have managed to publish two stories, a haiku, a humorous essay, and, this past summer, a poem. So I guess I’m an author, of sorts, but I have yet to achieve my main goal: to write (and publish) a novel.

I have written upwards of 10 different novels in the course of the last 20 years, all of which reached various levels of “completeness” but none of which, so far, has developed into a finished manuscript. Currently I have drafts of two different novels I am working on, either of which might be “the one” that allows me to finally realize my dream. To be honest, some days I fear I will lose the will to keep plugging away, but then I come up with a new character or a scene, and I plunge back in again. I believe I will continue doing so until either I succeed or mortality catches up to me. Until then, I’ll stay hard at work. Wish me luck. It can only be a matter of time, right?

Besides, if I didn’t keep trying to write, what else would I do?


Lauren said...

Birthdays are the perfect day to think about goals and imagine the year ahead. You ARE an author of novels-- having written 10 is wonderful, even in different stages of completion. I am extremely impressed since I am wading my way through NaNoWriMo for the first time. My birthday wish for you is a contract for your first novel!
Hope you are well celebrated today!

Christy said...

I'm with Lauren, 48 is a great year to have a first contract. I was just listening to an interview with Francis Ford Coppola and he was insistent that if you commit to writing you will get better. Stick-to-it-ness makes a huge difference. How impressive that you're 20 years in--means you've learned lots. Keep at it; that contract is just around the corner. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

john said...

Happy birthday, Mark. I hope you are stretching out the celebration and all kinds of nice things are happening. i agree about the importance of putting in the time on writing. I also agree with picking the strongest novel and working that over and over to make better. Keep on your path my friend and good thinngs will occur.

Edie Hemingway said...

Happy Birthday, Mark! You're just a child yet, as writing goes and having 10 novel manuscripts written is very impressive. One of those is going to be your breakout novel, and then your editor or agent is going to want to go back and read those other manuscripts for great possibilities!

David LaRochelle said...

Once you get that first contract, Mark, you will realize that all of your previous novels were steps that brought you to that success. Here's a quote from Barry Moser: "Talent is as common as housedust and as useful as tits on a boar. What matters is drive, dedication, discipline, indefatigable energy, and the willingness to fail."
You clearly have the drive, dedication, discipline, energy, and willingness to fail, and I suspect you have the talent as well. With your determination, you WILL achieve your goal.

mark said...

Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement, everyone. Having supportive friends always helps on the darker days!!

Stephanie said...

Happy Birthday! ( belated, I'm late as usual) I have seen your work and know it is only a matter of time before you have a published book in your hands:)

Diane Adams said...

Happy Belated Birthday Mark! Just checking up on postings today. Keep writing. Keep believing. You have already been published. You will be published again.