The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, September 26, 2005

My own life and goals--part 1

Some questions to spend a couple of days on. 
For those of us interested in writing, it would be interesting to hear some specifics from your own life and background.

How did you first get interested in writing and science fiction? What steps did you take to become a published writer? Did you write a short story per week or did you immediately start writing novels? Did you have your first novel published or did you write a few "trunk" novels before you hit gold? How did the collaboration with Niven and Pournelle come about?

As a teacher, it would be interesting to hear about your own experience, successes, and frustrations along the way.
How do you go about choosing goals? My first thought was that if you choose a goal which is impossible or destructive and give it that much motivation, you could get yourself into real trouble.

I'll start with the last one first.  I look for the balance of body, mind, and spirit.  If I can't find a goal in one area, I'll "bootstrap" myself with the goal of finding a goal!  All goals must be in alignment with my values and beliefs (I constantly work at clarifying those) so it really isn't possible to have a destructive goal.  For instance, a goal of working out three hours a day would cut into my family time--not to mention destroy my body!  A goal of spending 80 hours a week working would be similar.  Each goal has to support the other two areas, see? 
An impossible goal?  All of my goals have been accomplished by other people--although possibly not in the combination I choose them.  I wouldn't have a goal to "flap my wings and fly" although I might have one to "learn to hang-glide."  The second is possible.  If you mean "impossible" in terms of "I can't do it," well, Jeeze, I've had lots of those.  Failing to reach a goal doesn't kill you!  It teaches you about the territory you are traversing.  I deliberately choose goals bigger than I am when I make them.  That's part of the fun!

More later...


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