This week on Where is My Mind - I bring you a more contemplative musing of Derek Alan Siddoway, awesome person and all-round writing talent. If you don't believe me, you can read the Teutevar saga yourself - it's a western/medieval fantasy mix that might blow your mind. ... I said might. You never know unless you try it...
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the big picture. About where I want to be five, ten, twenty-plus years down the road.
Part of this stems from listening to Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven’t heard of him, Gary Vee burst onto the social media scene in the early days of YouTube with a show called Wine Library that “went viral” and helped him build his family wine business from $3 million to something like $65 million. He then left to start Vayner Media, a digital ad agency that now has clients like Sour Patch, Pepsi, Toyota and many more.
I love Gary’s no-holding-back, in-your-face, brutally honest take on building businesses and chasing your dreams. He tells it like it is, no B.S. But more important than that, I love his vision.
See, Gary wants to buy the New York Jets, a multi-billion dollar NFL team. And, as much success as he’s already had, he knows he has a long way to go, so he preaches patience and the long game.
While I don’t have aspirations as big as buying an NFL team, I’ve still got big dreams of my own. Things outside the realm of writing books. For me, writing isn’t a destination, it’s a tool I’m using to help build my future overall, to create my own empire, climb my hill, carve my legacy. And, as impatient as I am, I’ve come to realize it takes time (a long time, maybe) to create something lasting like that.
You know, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
God-willing I find some amount of success telling stories, I want to parlay that success into other things: screen writing and other storytelling outlets, sure, but also stuff like a local media company in my hometown and large ranch that I can live on, raise animals and watch my family grow.
There’s this scene in a John Wayne movie, (Chisum, if you’re interested in the specific film) that really illustrates my dream. Wayne, playing this successful, middle-aged cattle baron, rides up on a hill overlooking his spread at first light. When he reaches the top, he just sits there on his horse, surveying the results of years of hard work, the legacy he’ll leave behind. He returns at evening to do the same thing.
That’s my end goal. That’s my equivalent of owning the Jets. That’s what get me out of bed at 5 in the morning to write.
Do I want to be the next J.K. Rowling or George RR Martin? Of course, what author doesn’t? But for me, that level of writing success is just the trail that leads me up the hill to watch the sun rise on horseback.
It makes me hungry. It makes me work when I want to play video games or my favorite TV shows.
It also makes me a smarter author. I’ve come along way since I started as in indie — not just my writing, but my marketing too. I’ve realized there’s sometimes a difference between writing whatever strikes my fancy, whenever I have the urge, and writing a series of books that stick with readers, makes them tell their friends about it. (And sells like hot cakes. Call it selling out if you want, but I’m in this as much to make a living as I am to share my stories. As the Joker said “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”)
Which brings us to my current project. I’m attempting to engineer a best-selling fantasy trilogy using the experience I’ve gained in my first three and a half years as an indie author. I’ve set aside my Teutevar Saga for the time being to write the Gryphon Riders trilogy from the ground up, doing everything I can to make it a bestseller.
I’ve never worked this hard on my books before. From the research, to the outlining, rough draft, revisions, editing, release and marketing, I’m giving it everything I’ve got. As a result of pouring my heart and soul into this, I realize that I may be disappointed in the outcome. But what I won’t be disappointed in is the effort I put forth.
Am I naive enough to think this will be when lightning strikes and I’ll make millions off these books right out of the gate? No, but this trilogy represents a major step forward for me, a pivotal piece of my catalog and a turning point in my career no matter what the results. It’s a step up the hill.
Am I also brave enough to dream that it might be a home run? Of course. If I give it my all, there’s no reason not to hope for a little luck, not to strive to catch a little lightning in the bottle.
And if it’s not a smash hit? If Hollywood doesn’t call and I don’t sell foreign rights to a dozen different countries or even make my money back within the first five years? Then I’ll put my head down and get back to work. I’ll keep climbing. Because I’m playing the long game. I’m already climbing that hill, one step at a time. I can be patient. I can work harder and longer. I can crawl on my hands and knees if I have to.
Whether it’s five, ten or twenty-plus years down the road, you can bet before I die I’ll reach the top.
Thank you, Derek, for telling it like it is and still daring to go big! You can pick up Siddoway's Teutevar Saga for some Game of Thrones meets John Wayne reading action! OR go and pick up the Lone Wolf Anthology, and read a short story from his new Gryphon Riders Bestseller attempt!
Oh hey, is that ... Is that my name on that anthology, too? Oh my. I think it is...
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Next week on Where Is My Mind: Nadia Bulkin
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