It was around this time last year that I decided to finally write the book I'd been threatening to write for the previous six or seven years. I'd obviously been writing articles and blog posts for a while, but I'd never tackled anything like a book before. Books are long, and require a lot of planning, and they take a fair amount of dedication to write. But, hey, it was something long past due, so it was high time I charged ahead with it!
I got a little ways into it and started setting some deadlines for myself. They were aggressive, but seemed doable. And they kept me on task, though I really wound up pushing myself to my limits because of them. I was pretty exhausted by the time I finally sent the final files off.
But, despite a few typos and a couple of other minor glitches in production, I'm really proud of it. I periodically look at a copy on my desk and think, "Damn. I did that. That is so awesome."
So here it is roughly a year later and I get another idea in my head. "You know what'd be cool, Sean? Another checkmark you could put on your 'I did that' list?" It's not something that I've been kicking around for any real length of time, but it's something that would definitely set me apart from most of the population. Estimates place the number of Americans who actually write a book (though not necessarily get one published!) at a little over 2%. Other stats I've found place my next goal as being completed by less than 1% of Americans. So it's something I can pretty safely chalk up there in the Life Accomplishments column.
I've only just started, and I can't say that I'm fully committed to this idea just yet. So I'm not going to actually tell you what it is. (Yet.) I might find I will totally fail right out of the gate somehow. Especially after my first couple of real forays didn't go nearly as well as I'd hoped. But that's actually where I wanted to head with this post.
Anything that comes easily isn't really a goal. It's not worth striving for if you can achieve it without much effort. Part of the reason I'm proud of my book is that it took a substantial amount of effort. It was the proverbial hard-fought battle in some ways, and it's a sweeter reward knowing that I persevered through its challenges. I tested my limits, pushed them beyond what I knew I could do, and still succeeded. That's extremely satisfying. My next goal looks like that now. When I'm able to cross that finish line, I will able to look back and say, "Yeah, I did that. Me. Not some guy I read about online. Me. Because I can do anything I damn well want if I really set my mind to it."
So if you've been thinking about doing your own comic or going back to school to learn how to paint or trying to get a job at Marvel or whatever your ambitions are, what are you waiting for? Define your goal, figure out what needs to happen to achieve it, get some realistic deadlines and GO! That's how I got my house. That's why I charged through my Masters degree. That's how I found my current girlfriend after my divorce. That's how I wrote my book. That's how I'm tackling my next big goal. Go already!
As to why I come up with these brilliant charges of insane ideas to work on in the middle of the summer, I don't know, but you don't question those types of things!
(For those curious, I will indeed reveal my Life Accomplishment goal at a later date. Definitely before the end of the year. Though actually achieving it won't happen until next spring.)
Seriously, though, get going already!