For my second novel, I am in the process of dissecting two of my favorite novels by two of my favorite authors, books I have read multiple times each, so I can full understand how they work, more so, than perhaps, I do already--I have actually written a paper on one for a linguistics class. Actually, I have written two papers on works by that author, so I am already well familiar with how his style works, more or less. My goal is to immerse myself in these novels so I can draw as much influence from them as I am able. I already have my novel all plotted out, but studying these works will allow me to hone what I have planned already and, when I am actually writing it, use what I have learned and absorbed to write the best novel that I am capable of writing, currently.
One thing that really click for me over the last few months has to do with editing, which I will be able to use, not only when I am editing this novel, but also when I am writing it. I have figured out my process and I feel confident in it, and know that I can produce top quality work, which, even though I believe I could get it published, I am going to self-publish, since one of my goals is to change the way people perceive self-published novels--that they don't all have to be genre fiction in order to draw an audience, and that they can be well-written and intellectually challenging.
My goal as a writer is to produce works of artistic and literary merit, that go beyond mere entertainment and escapism, to push boundaries, to challenge people to think differently and go outside of their worldview and see life from a different perspective.
It feels good to be figuring things out, making decisions, and doing what I have to do to move forward in my life, professionally and personally, and as a writer. Even though I am only a hobbyist, I do take what I write seriously, and I try to push myself constantly to be better than I am, and that will likely never change.