I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My mom would set up her typewriter (yes, this ages me) in my room so I could tap out stories. It was, and still is, my way of processing the world around me. I’ve never known a time in my life when I wasn’t writing.
The third book in my Men of Honor Series (Rescue Me) releases November 3rd. I’m excited, scared, nervous, relieved…the gamut of emotions I have when I take a story I’ve written from it’s safe environment close to the vest and release it to the world for people to read, hopefully enjoy, but maybe critique as well. And when I started writing novels I imagined when I did release a book I would sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Oh, how silly of me.
Because in this business, there is no finish line.
I used to think this was a negative, but it’s not. Quite frankly, it means I’m never bored and there’s always something exciting around the corner.
Have I typed The End? Yes. Many times, actually. But in truth, that’s only the beginning. If you want to be a published author, the blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t just go into the writing of the manuscript. It also goes into writing proposals, marketing, having a business plan…the list is long and not unlike any other business, really.
It’s been said that it’s all about the journey, not the destination. This is so very true in writing. And that’s tough to remember sometimes when you’re watching the marketing and business side of things. But it’s doable. It just takes being intentional about the following:
1) Embrace the journey – Writing is tough, but it’s fun. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I HAVE to write. When I’m not, I’m a crazy mess – stories in my head have to come out or I start to spin. Some days I’m writing one book, editing another, and promoting another. It’s loony. But it’s the journey. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2) Celebrate the victories, no matter how small – Thankfully, my family is great at helping me with this one. I love a good party as much as the next gal, but sometimes I let the stress of the business side of things cloud the celebration. When I release a book, my family parties with me. Dinner, flowers, a nice evening all of us together. I love it. But I catch myself thinking, “But what if it doesn’t sell? What if the next book doesn’t come to me and my mind goes blank?” Those what ifs are tricky little buggers. My husband will look at me and say, “You’ve worked hard, girl. Enjoy this. Toss away the what ifs and focus on what is.”
3) Keep writing – It’s so easy to get discouraged. My mind can play such nasty tricks on me, telling me I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s not worth it, no one wants to read my stuff, etc. But that’s when I remind myself WHY I do this. I would do this if I didn’t ever publish anything. I would. It’s not about a response, it’s about the release.
The release of the stories in my head onto the page. And as wonderful as social media can be, it can also distract, as well as give people a chance to be negative about your work. Take the bad with the good, but only give the bad about 1% of your time and then move on. You have books to write.