I’ve talked a little bit about milestones before, those little markers that tell you that you’re making progress. Your first actual rejection (easy to get, but it shows that at least you finished something). Your first personal rejection. Your first actual sale. Your first…well, whatever. One of the beauties of the system is that you get to pick your own milestones. That’s the thing about milestones—by their very nature, they are personal.
The picture above represents one of mine, though at this point it might also qualify for a bucket list. So what is it? It is two copies of Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter on sale at our local B&N. Granted, I’ve been able to walk into a local bookseller and buy my own work for years, but only in the context of a magazine or anthology. This is the first time I can walking into a brick and mortar and buy a real live book that was entirely written by me. A reader living in New York or L.A. or Washington can walk into their B&N and find this. Books often succeed or fail for reasons other than the content, but that won’t matter. My name is on the cover, and whether it stands or falls, it’s on me. That’s a little scary and, imo, long f%$*#ing overdue. But it’s a milestone I wasn’t sure I was ever going to reach. Took me long enough, but I finally got there.
So where’s there, which is now here? The same place it always is—the place where the work is done on the way to the next milestone. Which, as I’ve said before, is not a destination. Do you ever pull onto the highway with thoughts of visiting the 334 mile marker, maybe camping out, take a few photos? I’m pretty sure you don’t. More like “I made it this far, only so many miles left to where I’m actually going.” Which is where?
Which is onward.
Passed 20,000 words last week on the new book. Which is not a milestone, but at the moment it is something much better–it is progress. I try not to confuse the two.