May 16, 2012

building an empire

When I graduated college four years ago, people asked the obvious question: "What do you want to do with your life?" My tongue-in-cheek answer was always the same: "I want to be a media mogul."

It always earned a good laugh, but behind the joke I was serious. I wanted to be a media mogul. I wanted to make books, movies, TV shows, magazines, websites. I wanted to own my own bookstore, produce films, publish a magazine. I wanted to teach others about writing. Four years later, I still want to do it all.

While I knew I had big goals, I definitely underestimated what it would take to accomplish each of them. At the very least, I figured becoming a published author was something I could do in a couple of years. All I had to do was write the book. Right? Wrong. Writing a first draft is the easy part. Becoming a published author of a quality publication takes a hell of a lot more.

That means my bigger long-term goals, like having my own magazine, will take even more work. It must.

I thought about this more last night while having a study date with my sister. She started summer classes Monday and already has a pile of homework. I have a novel to plot, another to revise, a pile of books to review and blog posts to write. Study dates are a big part of our lives. We order takeout, camp out on the couch, get some music going and go to town on whatever projects are awaiting us. I know, we party like rock stars.

But I digest.

While writing a list of questions and selecting topics for upcoming author interviews and guest posts, I jokingly said to my sister, "Sometimes, it's hard managing my mini empire." While she laughed at the oxymoron that is a mini empire, I realized there was some truth behind it. All of this -- the blog, social media, reading two or three books a week -- is actually a step toward College Laura's goal of becoming a media mogul. At the moment my audience may be small (but definitely appreciated) and my books unpublished, but it is all part of me becoming the person of my dreams.

I thought about a video one of my colleagues shared at work. It talked about how even Mozart, who was considered a child music prodigy, worked tirelessly for years before he reached a level of fame. It's like the saying in Hollywood: it takes 10 years to be an overnight success. You have to work at your goal every day if you want to achieve it. If you want to be better, you have to practice.

If you take away one point from this rambling post, let it be this: success takes a lot of effort.

So if you want to be a better writer, write. Start a blog. Read more books. Read articles. Write short stories. Plan full-length books. Do it every day. It is not always easy. But it is necessary.

Here's the video if you would like to watch it. I found it inspiring, and I hope you do, too.

Best of luck to you on achieving whatever goals you have. You won't need the luck, though, just persistence.

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