I’m on Holly Lisle‘s mailing list and get some interesting tips from her on a weekly basis. There was a particularly great email yesterday talking about Goals and what she calls ‘expectations’, which a lot of people confuse. Basically, in her terms, a goal is something that you can achieve, (pretty certainly) if you work at it hard enough, but expectations are the things where all you can do is keep trying, do your best – and hope. Like being signed by an agent, being published, having a best-seller, or winning awards. I think that’s a pretty good way of looking at it.
On the other hand, I’m also a bit of a nit-picker. One of the examples Holly gives as a goal is accumulating X many rejection letters from submitted stories. Myself, I would say that submitting stories X many times is the goal. A rejection letter is an outcome that you have no control over, just like a sale, so you can’t necessarily reach X many rejection letters just by hard work. You’re quite likely to, but that’s not the same thing, because by fluke luck you might keep getting sales.
Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much of a difference in the real world, but I like to think about the remote impossibilities as well.
So – what goals are you working on now, and what hopes and expectations are you entertaining?