There is a beauty to writing, a sort of freedom that not a lot of people will understand. It’s kind of the way not everyone wants their face on the big screen. Not everyone will understand your dreams. And it’s up to you to work twice as hard to make it happen. Not to prove anyone wrong, because you don’t need to.
I’ve written a post similar to this one a few months back (you can find the post here!). That post was about the crap some authors have to put up with, not just Indies, but traditional authors as well. It’s not an easy business to get into. There are just as many sharks in the water as there are sunken treasures. But that’s not what this post is about.
The thing people won’t tell you is how incredibly hard it is to write. Just write. I’m not even talking about marketing, cover designs, editing and all the other fun stuff. I’m talking about sitting your butt in a chair and hammering at your keyboard until your back aches, your eye twitches and your fingers hurt. I’m talking about giving life to the story in your head.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Well, it’s just writing. Anyone can do it.” HA! I always want to laugh. Not because it’s funny, but because there is absolutely nothing funny about it. I want to laugh because it’s aggravating. Not everyone can build a house. Not everyone can become a lawyer, or a doctor. At least not without proper training, hard work and dedication. It takes talent. But most of all, it takes a lot of guts. There is nothing scarier than bleeding for weeks and months onto paper, pouring your soul and sanity into every word and then releasing it into the hard, cruel world for others to tear apart and judge. It’s painful. But that’s what we do.
Now I used to tell people never give up and fight to make it happen. I still believe that, but then someone once told me that I was doing people a disservice by telling them not to give up. If writing isn’t your dream, then you should quit, especially if you realize your dream is to become an astronaut or a ballerina. We’re human. We are allowed to change our minds. We have the right to wear as many hats, and slip into as many shoes as we wish until we find the one that fits us best. Maybe you’re not meant to be an author and that is perfectly fine. My dream has always been to write and that is the path I’m sticking to.
That all said, here are a few things that I keep in mind when I’m writing. In no way are these things written in stone. Everyone does things differently and in their own way, but the bottom line is usually the same.
1) Read — I think Stephen King said it best, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”
2) Write — Got a book you’re writing? You’re almost done? Fantastic. Keep writing. Carve out a time where you can sit and write uninterrupted. Impossible you say? I have kids? I have a day job? I have a family? Then I don’t know what to tell you. Get serious about your writing if it’s important to you. Find time.
3) Edit — Edit. Edit. Edit. Then Edit again. I cannot express how important this is. Forget everything else. This is what people will take away from your book. They’ll forget your cover, your name, but they will remember a half assed written novel. Poorly written work shows the author’s dedication. Prove you’re dedicated.
4) Promote yourself — Put yourself out there. Support other authors and they’ll in turn support you. More importantly, set a time to promote. I’ve met authors who promote for an hour a day, thinking that’s enough. And all they do is post their book link and tell people to buy it. It doesn’t work like that.
5) Visibility — Make yourself visible. Send out links when you do blog tours, cover reveals or whatever. Give your readers a place to find you, to chat with you, to get to know you. If they can’t find you or your books, they’ll move on to another author, to another book. Show them where you are.
6) Connect — Connect with your readers. Connect with your fellow authors. And more importantly, connect with Bloggers. Support them. Buy their books, share their links and make sure you always respond to their comments/messages when they’ve taken the time to contact you.
7) Insistence — Finally, and this is the most important piece of advice I can give you, whoever told you writing would be easy is a liar. It’s hard, grueling work. It’s harder then a normal job simply because there is no stamping out at the end of the day. In order to succeed, you must lather, rinse and repeat every day, and every day is a 20/hr business day. I’m not saying it’s the same for every author. Not everyone is as OCD and anal as I am, but it’s all about time management. Manage your time accordingly. And stock up on coffee and aspirin.
I hope this has helped someone. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions, or suggestions. Maybe there’s a point I forgot. I’m always open to new ideas. Also feel free to share this post. You never know, you could make all the difference in another person’s decision. Finally, please remember to follow my blog for future suggestions, games and events.
All the best to you,