Ye gods.How about your long-term goals as a writer?
I've got plenty. Enough work planned to keep me busy for the rest of my life, in fact. Let me break them down a bit:
In fiction, I have a six-book series planned. I've written considerable chunks here and there, but it's huge and complex and requires a lot more worldbuilding and hard thinking before anything comes to fruition. I'm hoping to have the first book completed within the next two or three years, but I'm not going to sacrifice quality for expediency. The next couple of winter writing seasons are being dedicated to improving my fiction writing chops and fleshing out the universe I write in. And then, write furiously until done.
After the series is done.... I have no idea if there will ever be more novels. Possibly. Maybe even probably. I know there will be a few short story collections.
I just announced the geology ebook I'm planning to write over the next summer or two, which will be the first of at least two. Wise Readers already know all about that book, so I'll skip over it. The second book shall be one of those lavishly-illustrated books along the lines of In Search of Ancient Oregon, visually. In content, I'm planning to intersperse personal explorations of some of my favorite bits of Arizona and Pacific Northwest geology with sections on my favorite geobloggers and writers. I haven't got a timeline for that one yet - when it's time, it will be written. It'll need a track record before it's possible to publish. Either that, or better ebook readers.
As far as the blog goes, I'm always hoping to improve as a blogger, build the readership, and keep the focus on science and writing with the occasional political rant thrown in. It is what it is, and I shall leave it room to grow into whatever it needs to be. It's a community thing, this blog. It's what connects me with all of you, and even if I fail on every other front despite valiant effort, this blog will continue on.
Getting down into the weeds of the bidness: I used to believe I'd go the time-tested route. Y'know, write the damned book to the best of my ability, find an agent, spend ages finding a publisher (if I could even get one to take me on). Self-publishing was right out. But times have changed. Ebooks have taken off. People are making it on their own. The true measure of a book isn't whether a publisher wants to publish it, but whether readers want to read it. With the ebook revolution, it's now possible to contemplate doing this all on my own and let the readers decide whether my books stand or fall. They, in the end, are all that matters.
That's part of the reason for writing the geology ebook: get me feet wet, learn the business and make my mistakes before I even dream of trying the same route with my novels. I know fiction and non-fiction are different animals, but they're both books. The formatting, the marketing and so forth won't be all that dissimilar. The other thing about it is that I want to do it, and I want people to know I'm not just a one-trick pony. This is a good way of doing that.
Someday, though, I will want to hold a physical copy of each and every book in my hands. There's print-on-demand for that, thankfully, and the potential of doing well enough as an indie that one of the publishing houses will make me an offer. I'm not saying that will or won't happen. It all depends on how well I write and, after the writing is done, how well I do getting those books into hands that will read them. But others have blazed that trail, so it's not an impossible dream. I can make it happen.
At the end of the day, I want to be a full-time, professional writer. That's the goal. I want a series of books out there, both fiction and non, that change lives and inspire people. That's all I've ever wanted or needed. I want to leave behind words that matter, that will resonate with people long after I'm gone. I want to be one of the names that comes up when aspiring authors are asked who their inspirations were. I want to do my wonderful, extraordinary characters justice. And, if at all possible, I want to someday meet Neil Gaiman on somewhat equal footing.
It's going to take a hell of a lot of effort and self-sacrifice. It already has. But it's worth it. There's nothing in all the world I'd rather be than an author. There's no better thing I can do in this world than give people a sense of wonder and new eyes to see the world through.
But if you really want to know why I do this, I'll just have to quote you Neil Gaiman:
We owe it to each other to tell stories....