Measuring your progress in life is important. With the right mindset, it can provide the impetus to drive you forward to achieve your dreams and aims. Lots of people will tell you that having targets is key to the success of any project, any person. The problem with targets is they can, and do, complete distort your perception of where you are.
As an author, my original first target was to write a book, actually complete the whole thing. Like many wannabe authors, I’d started a few, but actually finishing a book is a big step and an important target. Achieving that was a world-changing moment for me. Suddenly, I could tell people I had written a book and was now working on another one.
After finishing one book, my target became finishing the next. However this time, with the confidence of knowing for sure that I was able to finish a book, it took me about one-tenth of the time. About this time, I published my first novel on Amazon and this, in turn, led to my first sales. Book sales put a whole different spin on my targets.
This was about the time that I got into Twitter and Google+ and then, much later, Wattpad and a few other sites. My first target on Wattpad was 1000 followers. It only took a couple of weeks for me to scale that back to 100 instead. Months went by and I struggled to hit double figures. Determined to make a go of it – it is after all the biggest fiction community on the web – I kept posting my chapters and short stories. Eventually, my follower count began to climb and I hit my 1000 target. That made me up my target to 2000.
That all seems logical and sensible, but there’s a problem. After enjoying my 1000 followers achievement for about a day, I now faced the mountainous task of doubling that. In time I achieved that and felt good about it, but that enjoyment was soon replaced by the daunting task of achieving 5000 followers. I recently passed 10,000 followers. That was great, BUT, now it’s just become another thing I’ve done and I’m looking at 20,000 as my next aim.
Back when I began this journey, I truly believed that 10,000 followers on any system would have proved that I was a successful author, that I mattered in the online fiction community and that readers would be buying my books by the hundred. But here I am with six novels completed (five of which are on Amazon), 10,800 Wattpad followers, 10,500 Twitter followers, 2100 Google+ followers, 6 Facebook followers (Never cracked FB!) and I’m still not remotely successful, know lots of people who are doing MUCH better than me and I’m probably still years away from my book sales covering my mortgage repayments.
So after all this work, all this progress and meeting so many targets, I’m still not where I thought I would be and that’s a little depressing. Sometimes it feels like no matter how much I progress and how many targets I hit, I’m still not getting anywhere. Like the horizon, no matter how far you travel, it’s still far ahead of you.
Anyway, you don’t get anywhere without determination, so I will press on, somehow get to my next targets and keep chasing that horizon.