Well, I finally did it! I finally got on Goodreads. I switched my Pintrest sight to a business page. Connected with other writers on Instagram and have been learning all about #bookstagram. I set up my Amazon author page. I tweeted. I spent a good portion of my day and night doing all of that, plus churned out five chapters in my new book, most of which will be on the chopping block tomorrow. In doing all of this I’ve realized two things. One, I’m overwhelmed and two, I’m not the only one.
I’m a horrible sleeper. Every night, no matter how exhausted I am, the gears in my mind start turning. What would be a good plot twist for my current novel? What can I do to get my name out there? Marketing my work? What’s the best way to connect with other authors? You name it, I think it. It’s truly a vicious cycle. This morning, however, I woke up with a little bit of clarity. A feeling of peace. I’m choosing to let it go.
As I read forum after forum yesterday I came to the conclusion that all writers feel the exact same way, most of them anyhow. The self-doubt. The fear. The worry. The sting of rejection. It forced me to look at the struggles I’ve faced as of late, and how could I help others while gaining support in return. So, I joined in on that conversation and connected with some really great people. One of the authors I spoke with gave me some sound advice and I felt compelled to share.
1. Not every one is a fan. There are millions of books out there. There are numerous varieties and genres. Your one, two, or ten books may just not be what someone is interested in, but it doesn’t mean your work isn’t good. Don’t get discouraged. For every person that dislikes it, there are five others that will. Find your target audience and go from there.
2. Friends/family will surprise you. This one in particular has been the hardest for me personally. The support you think you will receive may not always come through. My family has been amazing, don’t get me wrong, but there are a few that have truly surprised me. Friends you think will be there; buy copies of your books or share your posts, and they just don’t do it. Sure it hurts, but move on. Garner that support elsewhere just like I did. Connect with people who will lift your spirits and cheer you on. Writing can be a lonely existence. Not too many people understand it. Find those who will and rally around one another.
3. Write with passion, go with your heart. If you’ve read my blog at all, you’ve heard me say that sometimes I hold back on my writing for fear of disappointing someone, or making someone feel uncomfortable. The reality is, it’s only hurt me and my craft. I’ve been unfair to myself and my readers. You write what you feel; what your characters need to feel and say and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve decided to do that with my next book. Don’t hold back what needs to be said. Be true to yourself and your work.
4. Reviews are great when they’re good…. A good review can give us that boost. Push us over that hill when we’re sliding backwards. The affirmation that someone actually likes your novel is a thrill unlike any other. Then you get that one bad review. The review that sends you into a tailspin, circling out of control. Thankfully I’ve only had two, but I know as I continue to write there will surely be more to follow. When/if that happens refer back to point #1… not everyone will like your work. Suck it up and move on.
5. Push yourself because no one else will. There are days I just want to say screw it and climb back in the bed, but I don’t. I push and fight. Why? Because I’m better than that. Because I refuse to give up and quit. Writing makes me happy, so why let someone else squash that dream? Don’t let others ruin your joy. You’re the only one that can control it.