Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The challenge of ambition

Recently I was thinking back to one of my favourite authors from around the time I left college, Piers Anthony (this will become relevant, promise). nothing to do with his writing (which I find a bit basic these days) or the stories (not for those of strong moral principles) but more of the pieces he used to write for the back of the books. Kind of like blog posts, or extended letters to his fans: stuff on story development, creative process, correspondence etc.

One of the things that stuck (and I would look it up if the books weren't buried in a box) was a piece he wrote about the marks of a successful author. He set them thus: moving from selling what one writes to writing what one sells (the idea of the advance on synopsis) and moving from title dominating the cover to author's name doing so (where one's name is enough to sell the book).

This came from thinking of motivations for continuing SoFoBoMo and producing many photobooks. It answered my question to self: where can a create a challenge? Two years in and I've done 6 books for SoFoBoMo (yep, I went a bit mad last year). But I can challenge myself in the following ways:

  • Improving the photographic content
  • Improving the layout and design
  • More cohesive projects
  • Creating physical books (although I've done one)
  • Creating something others will buy
  • Getting properly published (we've already had a SoFoBoMoer jump that hurdle)
  • Creating a book as a synopsis for a bigger project
  • etc etc
I'm not saying the goal is to become commercially successful (but if I sold one or two, that would be a nice boon) but it shows a line of progression, challenge that is ever present. And over time I'm sure electronic delivery will develop in ways tht will create new challenges.

There is enough scope there to keep me going for many years to come. so if you've done it before and are wondering where the challenge lies, think a little more - it's there if you look for it.

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