Let's say you've met a major life goal, maybe your biggest life goal to date. You've gotten into that school, won that Olympic medal, made that breakthrough. Maybe your dream was to publish a book, and you've done it.
I've had the chance to watch many writers
break through the book-publishing barrier, and I've gone through it
myself. Generally what happens is that we instantly select new goals: to
publish again, to write more, to write better, to be more widely read,
to try something different or repeat a success. But after passing
through that gateway, the path goes all over the place. It doesn't
always go to happy places. Or, more likely, it doesn't go only to happy places. It goes up and down; it twists; it may go in circles or reach dead ends. It usually has many forks.
seen writers turn to new goals in other fields. They decide that being a
parent, or a teacher, or another kind of artist, or something else, is
really where they need to go from here.
I've seen writers publish more and have incredible success.
seen writers put together a career from trying this and that, doing
some editing, doing some work-for-hire, trying different genres, turning
to pseudonyms. One way and another, they're continuing to write.
seen writers disappear and I don't know what they're doing now: they
might be writing under pseudonyms, or they might not be writing anymore.
I'm not sure.
When we reach a big goal, we don't know how it
will play out for us. The road of any life is seldom a straight one,
seldom predictable and smooth. But life goes on, and it goes on testing
us. And most people then have to ask that question (What next?) and make
some choices, and for some of us it involves reimagining our futures.
Most of us thought the answer to the question would be simply, "Publish
more books," but there are other answers, other options.