The Nobel Prize. The Pulitzer Prize. The Caldecott Medal.
There are so many awards out there for writing, illustrating, and publishing. Some are legit, and some are money making schemes, but they are there, judging the books that you’ve put out and measuring you up to an imaginary ruler.
There’s also the New York Times Bestseller List, which is an interesting thing because the books that sell the most aren’t necessarily books that are good quality, books that have been read, or even books that have something important to say. They are simply books that have sold a lot of copies. These books don’t even have to be literary (but that’s okay, my favorite on the list is “Humans of New York”) but they have to sell like hotcakes covered in bacon, drizzled with maple syrup with whipped cream on top. Yes, that kind of breakfast would sell here, it is America after all.
While it would be nice to win lots of awards and get recognition for my work, I’m actually more interested in leaving behind a collection of books that I am proud of. I want to write books that say something meaningful. I want my books to be relate-able and eye opening. I want my children to be able to pick up my books in fifty years and find that it speaks to them on a level that is still relevant despite changes in time and technology.
So I wanted to ask you (yes, the person reading this blog), what kind of writing legacy do you really want to leave behind? Do you want to be a Nobel Laureate? Do you want to break New York Times Bestseller records? Do you want to go on a year long book tour where thousands of people flock to see you and appreciate you?
All of these are great aspirations, and they are not out of your reach. It still takes dedication, time, money, resources, and fans to get there but it is possible. Of course, you have to throw in a bit of good luck, because sometimes that matters. You should recognize your writing goals, and pursue them with all your heart. Make sure that the writing legacy that you want to leave behind is a reflection of the you that you want to show the world. Make sure it is a legacy that will make you proud.