I hope you all didn't hold your breath and pass out waiting for me to produce the other half of my last blog post. Let's see, where did I leave off...oh right, I was just talking about how you will feel when you don't win a Rita but instead find yourself sitting in the audience at the award ceremony doing the loser's smile, clap, and nod routine...
Soon after, you will decide the Rita Awards are unfairly stacked against the kind of book you write and that such a goal as winning an award is pretty shallow and fruitless anyway. You will assure yourself that there are no sour grapes involved in this change of heart, and you turn your attention to other more worthy goals. Like becoming a New York Times bestseller and stuff.
More time passes, and you sell some more books. You start thinking you should be writing "bigger" books, and maybe you attempt to write one. Or three, or five, or ten. Maybe you sell one or all of them. Maybe you decide to get an agent, or dump your current agent and get a different one, or you become paranoid thinking all agents are parasites and decide to hire your pot-bellied pig to represent you in all future book negotiations (stranger things have happened in the publishing world).
(And for the record, I do NOT think my agent is a parasite or any other sort of blood-sucking organism. She is thoroughly goddess-like in all the ways that matter and a few ways that don't.)
I should probably have a way to wrap up this entry, but I don't. Because I am only in the middle part of the beginning of my career. How the hell should I know what goals I will obsess over next? My point with all this is that I've never met an author who feels completely satisfied with his or her literary lot in life. There is always the drive to achieve more (if we weren't so driven we would never get published in the first place--it takes both delusions of grandure AND a huge drive to succeed to make it past all that rejection), and with each success comes additional pressure.
From hearing New York Times bestsellers talk, I truly believe they have more pressure on them than any other authors out there. As the stakes rise, so does the pressure to be a success, and to build on each success. There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe to learn to live in the creative moment, or something. To judge success by how happy you are with the work you've done, rather than any external factor out of your control.
Oh shit, I'm getting off topic here. The original point of this was supposed to be something about how our goals changes as our careers progress. Me, I'm probably somewhere in the middle of acheiving the "I just want to sell steadily and earn a decent living" goal.
Beyond that, there is the moon and stars--and of course let's not forget the NYT list.