I recently got two comments I’d like all of you to think about, because it’s going to help you a lot
“Writing a book is a huge challenge, but I’m beginning to think it’s the easiest part of being an indie author.”
That statement says it all. Nailed it.
It’s 100% correct – and not just an indie author. Author, period. Writing is easy for us writer types – until we are 30,000 words in and there’s a plot hole. Nonwriters – also known as normal people – don’t deal with that. For us, failure looms with every new chapter, but because we are wordsmiths, we diligently work through it. (Thank god for that delete key!)
Then you get around some real writer types and see how your work is by comparison. You were the best writer in your circle of friends – until you expanded your peer group.
Big fish, meet BIGGER pond.
Then you up your game. You learn all the other stuff that you didn’t know about – marketing, promotions, Meet The Author events at bookstores, conferences, book fairs – and you master them. And that’s harder, because that’s waaaaaaaaay outside our comfort zone.
You master them, or you go back to the little pond.
And for some reason, we don’t want to do that. This writing thing became a way to push ourselves because we believe in ourselves. We don’t really share a lot of it with our families. We have setbacks, but we keep going.
When I started running, I ran as far as I could (it wasn’t very far), walked until I caught my breath, and ran some more. After a few weeks, I’d added the running segments together and was catching my breath much faster. Eventually, it became a mile long run. Then two. Then three. Then 5ks. Then a 10k. Then I stopped because running 10ks in Florida is freaking insane. It’s hot out. So I scaled back.
Anyway, I had to build my muscles up to the task. I would have died if I’d tried to run a 10k on Day 1. I didn’t even know how far 10k was. I thought it was close to 10 miles (it’s closer to six).
Writer muscles have to be developed, too, and so do you – mentally. Bit by bit, adding and adding, until we have something that’s a more complete thing. It takes time but you’ll get there.
“You are probably the hardest working person I know, and you’re a talented writer. Your day will come.”
Thank you, and not to toot my own horn, but I think so, too – about the “your day will come” part. I’ve had successes here and there, so I consider myself like a really good minor league baseball player looking for a shot at the big leagues. Ladies, think of Kevin Costner in Bull Durham, when he’s looking at payers with talent who want to get to “the show.” Talent was required, but talent wasn’t enough. There were mental games to get over, and a learning curve for a lot of other skills.
I still don’t know “what I don’t know,” so I forge ahead, but I’ll tell you, people like what I write. I’ve found I can make them laugh or cry. I can have them on the edge of their seat. I can get them hot and bothered. And when I had to pitch, spontaneously, in a breakout group at a recent writer’s conference, to a lady who’d been a big time New York editor for many years and worked with all kinds of agents – I saw a very positive reaction on her face.
What do I see, what do I feel? Word of mouth is spreading. You see it in odd places, like people asking to join my private critique group queue so they can read my story from the beginning, and not having almost any comments when they’re through. They heard I was good.
I feel like I’m close, or at least a lot closer than I was. My current book is far and away my best one, and my next book will be even better – whatever it is. I just know it.
And I may still be a mile away. But now I know I can run that mile.
So can you.
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