Focus is the key.
As I get older, my eyesight has begun to fail me slightly. I need readers almost all the time now and staring at a computer screen isn't helping matters any. I will soon need glasses full-time, but that's okay too. Glasses make you look smart, so maybe it'll actually help my image.
But as my vision has slipped its focus, my desire to be a successful writer hasn't. I have never been as singularly focused on one thing in my life. Of course, the best way to do that is to write great books that people want to read. I'm working on that, but it's not as simple as that. Writing is a multi-million-dollar industry. It's hard to break into. There are roughly 20 writers who dominate the world I work in, along with the bestsellers list. Check it out. For the most part, we little guys must compete with every book ever written by Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Ken Follett, David Baldocchi, and others like them. We don't have million-dollar agents, expensive editors (I have had the pleasure of working with some really awesome ones thought), huge PR budgets, and an army of people begging us to come to their event.
Fortunately, against the odds, relatively unknown authors make it to the big game all the time and do well. They become an "overnight success". Of course, that overnight success most assuredly came after years of hard work, dedication, and focus that got them to the right place at the right time to be "discovered." They hauled their books to out-of-the-way festivals and book fairs. They spent long days hoping people come by their table and buy a book. They beat the bushes for opportunities. Every author that is a household name now, was once a nobody and that gives me hope.
I simply want to write great books that people enjoy. Life is hard and if I can give readers a brief respite from that, then I've succeeded. I was recently told by a reader that I was their favorite author. I tried to act cool about it, but inside I was doing a happy dance. It's big, you know, to be someone's favorite author. I mean, I'm not even my wife's favorite author so you could imagine my surprise. (In her defense, she is kind, sweet, and relatively normal so some of the material I write is a little off-putting to her. Plus, she only ever gets the first draft and sometimes it's a little disjointed and weird, so I don't hold it against her. Her favorite Author is probably Nora Roberts, so you see, there's a genre difference.)
But I digress. I am someone's favorite author. That's a step in the right direction. Now I just have a couple thousand to go.