Last week, Rachelle Gardner blogged about goals as a writer. (What? I write blog posts a week in advance so the rest of the week was full when this came up in my reader.)
I commented the following:
"I want to be read. I want to be respected as an author who has a valuable and worthwhile voice to contribute to the conversation of the genre I'm going to publish in. I want to touch the heart of someone who reads the words I write.
"That's all. I don't dream of J.K. Rowling fame or having my books made into movies. The money either of those would bring is just a mega-bonus to achieving my dream of seeing my name on a bookstore shelf. (It'd be nice, but I do try to stay realistic in my goals.)"
What I left off the comment was this:
One way that I've found helps me to define my goals in this publishing journey is to compare author events. Which one strikes the chord with me? The ones where literally hundreds of people show up, making it impossible to make a meaningful, if brief, connection with their readers as the author signs readers' copies of their book? Or the ones where a hundred and fifty people attend, equally if not more interested in the presentation the author is there to make than getting their copies of the authors' book(s) signed?
For me, it's the latter. I'm on this road to be read, to touch the heart of a reader and make them realize that maybe they have a voice, too, and if they can't express it themselves they can find the strength within to do so at some point. That's what reading and characters are, to me. They're meant to be larger-than-life explosions of what a reader may be facing, showing them that whatever demons are lurking can be vanquished.
Honestly, if one person reads something I wrote and they come out better for it, stronger for it, I've done my job as a writer. I've impacted them through words and that's the best gift I can receive as a writer.