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?
While the high fantasy and sci-fi genres still seem to be dominated by male authors (with a few notable exceptions, of course), in the urban fantasy world, there are some interesting things going on in that age old gender war. People sometimes underestimate the power and social influence that books and television exert over the world. For instance, before Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the idea of a female hero (not a heroine, not someone who seemed strong until they needed to beef up a macho man and have him swoop in to save her) was unfathomable in the mainstream media. Buffy Summers paved the way for protagonists like Veronica Mars and others who flooded in after her.
I was reading my Twitter feed yesterday, and there was a little trend of hashtags inspired by Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, entitled Things Anita Blake Taught Me. Here are some that stood out to me:
“It’s okay to have wild monkey sex with more than one man at one time. Rawr!”
“Being a woman — and a petite one at that — doesn’t mean shit. Stand up for yourself!”
“Loving two men is okay.”
“A woman can be tough, carry a gun, be beautiful, smart — can be herself and still have lots of men want her.”
“It’s okay to date men who are prettier than you are.”
“Being a bad ass and being a woman are not mutually exclusive.”
“It’s easier to live in a man’s world if they secretly suspect you can kick their asses.”
“It’s too much of a burden to saddle men with always being the strong ones, just as it’s too much to saddle women with being the weak ones.”
Some people might argue that Anita Blake is oversexualized, but I am going to step out on the edge of the sword and say that she is an empowering figure. How many millions of times have we seen the man with his gaggle of women? How many references to men being more bad ass, more sexy, stronger, more manly for having more sexual partners, yet women are sluts and whores?
The power comes in because writers like Laurell Hamilton and Charlaine Harris are lending a hammer to the glass divider between the sides of that double standard, blurring the Madonna-Whore complex and showing that women can be sexual, can have multiple partners, and still be strong, confident, intelligent, and competent. It’s not the shattering blow yet, but there are cracks appearing, and that gives me hope.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I decided this warrants a post. I had a couple conversations in the past few weeks that have given me an extraordinary amount of hope for the future of male-female relationships, and I think it deserves some dialogue…or, because no one reads my blog, some monologue.
I’ve been discovering that the new wave of feminists for the 21st century are…male. This is not to say that female feminists are a dying breed–I don’t think we are–but just that the new generation of men, specifically the current 18-30s, are reconstructing traditional gender roles in a way that I think will prove to hugely impact the way men and women relate to one another in positive ways.
They believe in equality. That is the truest, most sincere basis of feminism–that men and women should be treated as equals and be granted equal opportunity. And they believe this because they have been shaped by the earlier waves of feminism–they take it for granted that men and women are equal.
They abhor violence toward women. Whether it is rape, spousal abuse, or emotional/verbal abuse, it isn’t okay with these guys. Really not okay. In fact, they speak out about it vehemently and passionately.
They are opening up about their own issues of mistreatment. Abusive wives and girlfriends definitely exist, but instances of physical and emotional abuse of men are usually either unreported or simply dismissed. This new generation is speaking out, and rightfully so. Equality is equality, for all people. And violence and abuse is unacceptable, regardless of who perpetrates it.
They are opening up, period. They express themselves. They tell how they feel. They ask for help. They are thoughtful and tender and kind. They are protective and gentle and honest when they are conflicted.
They believe that women’s sexuality is beautiful and vital. They want to please their partners. They see women’s sexuality as something valuable, something important, and something fascinating. They see it as a strength, and they respect women’s confidence in the bedrooms.
The words “whore” and “slut” have long been the only ways of describing women who have had multiple sexual partners. Men are “players,” but women are “sluts.” The staggering difference in connotation, even on a purely etymological level, is one of the remaining barriers in women’s equality in the sexual realm. I recently came across a new term, made popular by a song–and it holds a connotation much more similar to “player” than “slut.” The term is “maneater”–and while it might sound negative, it’s usually spoken with a modicum of the respect given to “player.” I have to say, I’m pretty content with that.
These men are hands-down amazing. They are hugely impressive. They believe in partnership–and I think that they will have more successful relationships than their predecessors.
To all of you 21st century men out there–you are awesome.