Credit image: Giphy.com
The gif above cannot be further from the truth. Writing is the hardest thing ever. Let me repeat that again. Writing. Is. The. Hardest. Thing. Ever. When I’ve first decided to pursue a writing career, I foolhardily thought it wouldn’t be too difficult. Oh no, I didn’t think it’d be easy either. I’m not that foolish. Yet somehow or another, I thought that just because I had a story outlined, the rest will come naturally. Well let me tell you, there’s nothing natural about sitting your butt in a chair. All to create fictional worlds out of thin air with nothing but your imagination and your pen. Then add a 40+ hour work week and children on top of that, and you just might already be ready to give up.
Yet, if one aspires to a writing career, parking that little tushie of yours in a chair is what you’re going to have to do. But that’s not all. There’s a myriad of things you’d have to do if you truly want to be a published author. Whether you’re a self-published author, traditionally or published by an independent press. And to assure that this long journey of writing leads to a prosperous and productive destination, here are some things I’ve learned not to do. Lessons learned that’ll help you achieve your authorpreneur dreams.
- Don’t be naive– Let’s be real. Getting a book deal is not as easy as pie. You can’t think that just because you wrote a story, there will be agents knocking on your door to publish it. Yes, you’ve written a book but have you had it proofed, edited, revised, etc. Writing takes a lot of work and a lot more after you’ve completed the manuscript. And even if you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s, shouldn’t be considered a guarantee either. Remember, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter manuscript was rejected twelve times before it got published.
- Don’t just sit there– I know I said that to write you need park your tush. But just sitting there and staring into space or willing the story to write itself will not do you any good. Sometimes moving your body, like taking a short walk or taking a little break away, can do wonders. So getting up and doing a little bit of exercise or taking a timeout, can help refresh your mind, body and spirit to continue to write and finish your book.
- Don’t just follow the trends-You decided to become a writer because you have a story to tell. Telling someone else’s story and in their way, just because it’s a popular trend today, won’t cut it. It does a disservice to yourself and your writing. You can study how others write, but always remember to insert your unique voice into your writing.
- Don’t stop believing in yourself-There is only one Shakespeare. One Mark Twain. One Edgar Allen Poe. One Orna Ross. One JK Rowling. One Nora Roberts. One H.G. Wells. One Ray Bradbury. One Ken Follett. And there’s only one you. The fact that you’ve picked up your pen or the moment you started typing away on your keyboard, means a lot. So don’t drop your pen so easily. Any of the authors mentioned above could’ve given up but they didn’t. They had a story to tell, as do you. So believe in yourself and your story. And you never know, maybe someday your name might be mentioned alongside theirs.
- Don’t stop writing– You shouldn’t stop writing or writing consistently. Even if you can’t think of anything to write or if you’re stuck/have writer’s block, you should still write. It can be a few lines, your thoughts or opinions. Hell, it can be a grocery list. Just as long as you don’t let your pen become rusty. So pick up your pen and let your thoughts flow on the page.
- Don’t give up– Giving up on your writing is the same as not believing in yourself. And not believing in your story. It’s easy to give up once you’ve realized how long and arduous it is to write a novel. It’s easy to doubt and question yourself on why you’re even doing this. And when you’ll ever reach “The End.” Especially when you have other life worries like the bills that need to be paid, parenthood, work, your health and what not. But it is at such moments when you need to persevere. Nelson Mandela said it best, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
- Don’t overlook the author platform– Yes, writing is important. As well as believing in yourself and your story. But most of all, having an author platform is something an author can’t do without. An author platform allows you to reach out to potential readers. There’s a number of ways to do so. You can blog, create and manage a Facebook author page, or engage with them on social media. You can set up a Twitter account, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ etc. or any number of them. Remember if there’s no one to read your story, then how will it get read?