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Emmie’s Everest

This post will deal a lot with my writing career, so I reckon I’ll esplain right off the bat why I’m putting it here instead of over at my um…writing blog.

The first reason is because that there blog is for writing about urban fantasy and the business side of my career. Though I might make the occasional foray into the personal there when the occasion demands, this little leafy blog is where my personal meanderings (hence the name) occur. The second is because I got homework today, and I decided to share the concrete bits with whoever feels like reading them.

Without further ado, I give you………*drumroll*………..Emmie’s Not-Top-Secret Goals for Her Writing Career in 2012 and Beyond!

That title needs some work. Cut me some slack.

My assignment was to assess my personal goals for my writing career. Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be in five years? Ten? Three? What do I want out of my writing? Who do I want to reach? What is my definition of success for my career, and how on earth will I know when I get there? What kind of income do I want to get from it? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Let’s start with the introspection.

Who do I want to be as a writer? As Forrest Gump might say, “Aren’t I going  to be me?” Well, yes. Essentially, I’m not aiming to be the next Stephen King or Jo Rowling or Stephenie Meyer or “the next” anyone. I want to pave my own way and establish my own niche in my market.

I know that’s a cop-out answer. I hope this one is a little better: I want to be a best-selling urban fantasy author who turns out new books, each better than the ones that came before them. I want a writing career where I am always striving to be better, bolder, and unique.

Who do I want to reach? I want to reach the lovers of magic and the supernatural. People who love vampires and shapeshifters and twists on our world. People who love human stories in the midst of all that. My ideal audience is people who love the grittiness of Buffy — or Twilight fans after some of the glitter has worn off the vampires. People who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty and like their sweet with a touch of bitter.

What is my definition of success? I will consider myself successful when I can amply provide for myself and my family by the sole means of my writing. When I can quit my day job and still have wiggle room after the squeak of the bills grinds to a halt, I’ll know I got there.

Where do I want to be in three years? In three years, I want to have a book somewhere on the New York Times or Amazon.com bestseller lists. I want to be planning a migration to Scotland and maybe thinking of building our home. Maybe even thinking of spawning some little Emmies.

Where do I want to be in five years? In five years, I would like my family to be ensconced in our home in Scotland with a charming husky and a fluffy orange cat that meows a lot. I want to spend my days writing in my library and continuing to hone my craft. I’d like to have filled another passport up with stamps from all over the world.

I’d also like to have met an elephant by then.

In TEN YEARS?! Ten years from now, I’d like to be done popping out kids so I can make my husband get a vasectomy and stop having to deal with foreign hormones clogging up my body. I want to write every day. I want to teach my children to love books and that they can be whoever they want to be. I want to show them the world. I want to share what I have with others and give back as much as possible. Some dreams I have in that sense are to make hefty donations to cancer research (I’ve lost several loved ones to that cursed disease), to Eve Ensler‘s heroic work for V-Day to stop violence against women, and to find some little girls that remind me of myself and make some of their dreams come true.

What kind of income do I want to make? I would love to have enough to build our dream home (which, by the way, is NOT 10,000 square feet, nor does it have a pool or any columns or more than 5 bedrooms or any other such nonsense), pay off all my debt (including the debt of my immediate family, of which there is quite a lot), and make the aforementioned hefty donations as possible. I don’t care about millions per year. One thing I’ve learned from a lifetime of never having enough of it is that money does not buy “happiness,” but it can alleviate a great deal of stress and improve quality of life. I want my children to have more than I did, but still to know the value of their own work and to take joy in earning something for themselves. I don’t have a specific number of how much money I want to make, just that I want to be able to pay for the things I value: family, books (ha), travel, and causes that matter to me.

That is my Everest. Right now I’m at base camp, starting the trek. Took a long time to get prepared for even this leg of the journey, now I’m about to begin my ascent.

And oh, yeah…

What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? This depends on whether it is an African swallow, or a European swallow. It’s unlikely that either variety of swallow would be capable of carrying a large burden, such as a coconut, over any distance, but perhaps if the swallow were being chased by a large horde of zombie swallows it might have enough adrenaline to do so. Though why it would want to is a question for a greater mind than mine. Perhaps for one known as…Tim?

English: Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is my hero for too many reasons to name here, but to give you two: she is a champion for women around the world, and she kicked cancer's ass. Image via Wikipedia

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Scotland, ho.

It’s less than two months away now, and I’m really getting more and more excited.  For one thing, a conglomerate of my lovely European friends is getting together to descend upon Edinburgh purely for the pleasure of my company while I’m on their side of the Atlantic.  For that I am grateful to the point of delirium — never before have I had such friends who would hop a plane and come see me like that.  I hope I’m that kind of friend.  I did jet to New York City when Karsten and Daniel flew over from Germany for New Years a couple years ago, which at the time was nearly across the entire US of A.

I’m lucky to have people like that scattered across the planet.  Makes me feel special.  🙂

This is going to be a busy summer, but I hope it will be a good one.  I think it will.

In other news, tonight I engaged in an epic battle lasting two hours and several rounds:  Emmie vs. Phone.  After many hair-pulling moments, almost tears and recriminations, I emerged victorious.  This came about because of a bit of a mishap that befell my old phone last Friday, in which it sustained significant injuries that couldn’t simply be tended to with a trip to the corner between bells — no, this involved the necessity of complete renewal.  Replacement.  The old phone was down for the count.

However, it didn’t surrender without a fight.  Determined to take with it all 167 of my personal contacts, it fought tooth and nail as I wrestled with the Backup Assistant that was supposed to be on my side.  Little tramp.

Instead of sneaking into the old phone like a veritable Trojan Horse to unbar the way to my contact list, it instead shrieked at me, “INVALID PIN!  YOU HAVE ENTERED AN INVALID PIN!” which I had most certainly not.

My pin was valid.

Imagine my fury.  I called in the Big Guns.  The Big Guns goes by the name of Ben, from Verizon.  With his help, we had the old phone and the traitorous Backup Assistant on the ropes in no time at all — and we even managed to suitably cow the new phone, just to ensure it doesn’t get any ideas from its predecessor.

Yes.  A victorious day.  A glorious day.

Emmie vs. Phone:  Emmie Stands Triumphant.

elation

there may be clouds outside, but i am walking on freaking sunshine.  allow me to esplain.  no…there is too much.  let me sum up.

once upon a time, in the faraway land of montana, nestled between the bitterroot and sapphire mountain ranges of the northern rockies, there lived a girl.  at times redheaded, always inquisitive, and bright, she studied quietly through the years of secondary education.  she dreamed of college far away from her small, provincial town.  she dreamed of adventure.  and so, in the autumn of the third year of the new milennium, she set out to find it.

it was to colorado she first went, with the intent to study the makeup of the human genome.  but it was not the poetic codes of deoxyribonucleic acid or the transcription of rna that stole her heart — it was the whispering voices across the pages of history that wooed her away from the study of things unseen to the study of things that came to pass long before her body came into being in this wide world.

she followed this quiet urging across continents, spanning oceans and languages.  on her tongue danced the purring rumble of the poles and the silibant consonants and sharp vowels of the germans.  her ears became accustomed to spanish, french, danish, finnish, hungarian, italian, and russian.  turkish and japanese, farsi and afrikaans.  flemish and catalan and portuguese.

she explored the world of her books.  for two years she remained estranged from her native shores before returning to seek the record of her studies…only to have it denied.  for another long year, she toiled until she had completed almost half again the required amount of study, and still they said her nay.

but lo, as spring blossomed in the ninth year of the twenty-first century, hope glimmered on the horizon.  a thousand miles away from her university and striving to move farther still, determination grew in her bosom.  after sleepless nights and pounding heart, she feverishly prepared for the two final examinations that would decide her fate in the academic world.  and then, at long last, the days arrived.  the first test brought her through the folds of american history.  civil rights and the cold war were the topics that surfaced, and when the time was called, she wearily awaited her fate.

her heart leaped as her score was reported.  she passed with a healthy margin!  the next week went by as she studied for the final examination — a survey in mathematics.  the subject had long been the bane of her existence.  she had avoided it with every ounce of her being.  she had no way to measure her progress — her crumbling guide failed her, offering no indication of what socre she ought expect.  unable to sleep, she tossed in fitful anxiety the eve before the final examination.  the day dawned dreary and grey, with swollen clouds threatening rain above the sprawling edifices of nashville town.  nerves alight, she made her way to the center of testing to face her fear.  frightened that the pages would dissolve to squiggles before her eyes, she tried to calm her shaking fingers.

the test passed in a blur, and her heart pounded in her breast as she waited.  a few assinine questions stood between her and certainty.  she answered with impatience and finally clicked the azure button to report her scores.  she needed 50 to pass.

61.  sixty-one!  excitement bubbled up, clear and pure.  she floated out of the center, ready to face the day.  she was finally done.

and that, ladies and germs, is a faithful narrative of how i feel right now.  after five and a half painstaking, headdesking years, i’m finally done with my bachelor’s degree.  i may be $40,000 in debt, and it may have taken me forever and a day of fighting, squabbling, and ranting at my university to wrest my diploma from their clenched, unwilling fingers, but it is done.  i’m done.

I’M DONE!!!!!!