I know…it’s been a long time since I posted one of these. I’ve been slacking. Live outside of writing…life as April instead of Jackie Chanel got more crazy and weird than I ever imagined.
To make things more challenging, I had to do some serious soul searching for a cool month or two because, as an author-publisher-editor, I kind of lost my way. I even took a steady job and was about to give up on writing period. I honestly felt like I didn’t want to be a part of this industry anymore. I talked it out with myself, my mother, and God, and determined that writing is my calling. As John Mayer pointed out in 2010 (the speech that made me want to publish UNTITLED in the first place) …
“I know that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did. There are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect. When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling. That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.”
So, that’s where I am at this point. I’m following the sound of my calling, which brought me back to my blog and helping other authors.
#WriteTipWednesday this week is about following the sound of your calling. This is important for authors, especially authors like me who go through rough patches of doubt.
The writing and publishing industry is a beast like no other. E-book publishing made it so easy to get taken by what I call pop-up publishers. The big New York publishers are still last in line when it comes to signing indie authors to big publishing deals. If you’re an indie author, you have to work five times as hard as a traditional author. It’s a non-stop gig. You have to wear many hats. You have to be an author, an editor, a proofreader, a marketing expert, and a social media guru. It becomes overwhelming very fast and discouraging even faster.
However, it’s crucial that you remember why you do this. Everyone who makes the decision to become an author has a reason why they do this. If you’re passionate about this thing then you’re going to do what you should do in order to make it work the way you need it to work.
Step one is to always remember that you are not alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s you who has to write the book, but you have an entire community of indie authors who are experiencing the EXACT SAME THINGS that you are. You must build a system of support. That’s where I messed up. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, that you don’t need peer readers, critique groups, or just other author friends to vent to. Your support system doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure that it’s enough that you can share resources and trust these authors.
Step two…build a network of people who can do the things that you are not great at. You’re going to need cover designers, editors, proofreaders, beta readers, and a team of readers that you can trust to give honest feedback and gas you up when you need it.
I can’t reiterate enough how important it is that you do not even attempt to do this alone. Write your book. Follow the sound of your calling wherever it takes you because that’s what your calling is…to be an author. If you just do those two things, I guarantee, this industry will not get the best of you.
Just know that while doing this, there may situations that are uncomfortable. There may be long days and longer nights. There will be sacrifices and times you want to quit. It’s part of the job, part of the title, and a very real factor when you’re doing exactly what you know in your heart you’re supposed to be doing.
And if you need an author friend, hit me up. I’m in the same place as you.