Thursday, 1 January 2015

How to Overcome Your Writing and Self Publishing Worries in 2015 (and beyond)

First of all, happy new year!I hope 2015 delivers all you want from it.

Many of us have the same worries about different aspects of our lives, but for writers (and for the purpose of this blog post I am focussing on the independent and self-published amongst us), what drives us to commit countless hours in front of a white screen, filling it will words that hopefully make up a coherent story.

It's far from easy, and surely, better things to do with our lives.

My main profession is that of a martial arts teacher. It started out very difficult. I knew I was a good teacher, and I knew I was a good martial artist, and I believe I am better in both aspects today.

It's what keeps a roof over my head, so you bet I pay attention to it.

In 2007, I had begun making extensive notes for what emerged as my first book in 2011, The Essence of Martial Arts.

What had started as a extended notation exercise quickly turned into something else. I found I actually enjoyed the creative writing process. This was a life-changing thing for me, because as soon as I finished, work began on a new story; albeit a fiction one.

I never knew what a huge undertaking that was going to be. My first non-fiction book was 170 pages long, but I put my heart, soul and twenty years martial arts experience into it.

I was interviewed on radio; I started to get a trickle of reviews on Amazon. I had not even heard of GoodReads back then. I was disinterested in yet another social media site. But I was happy to be wrong - GoodReads is anything but that, and I have made many friends and heard from terrific reviewers during my time there.

Then something happened to me. I started to wonder if I could make it as a writer. Against a lot of odds, I had made it as a martial arts teacher. Considering I was a very poor fighter at school, I went through a savage fire in order to beat my fears and confound worries to the trash can forever.

Having established myself in my given area of expertise, why was writing distracting me? Surely only the canniest and most cunning of people made it as a living. I wouldn't go as far as JK Rowling or Stephen King because they are in a different league to most of us mortals. I'm more mortal than most.

I know my limits too. But that didn't stop me penning Stormling, my first fiction novel. My other half read the draft, expecting it to be of a Tolkien level. I knew that my writing might never be that good, but it would be my own style of writing, and it would be raw, and real. That says to me, that I was writing for the right reasons.Not money, not fame.

But that is not a business plan. It is not good marketing. It's a terrible propect for the future, if one is to make a living off writing, which I aim to do.

Worrying that You Can't Make It as a Writer

Yes, we all have those worries, and I wouldn't believe someone if they said they never worried about it. My motivation is to one day replace the income from martial arts, with a solid writing income. Without troubling the number one spot in the Kindle lists too often, I have seen a sure and steady income this year from writing.

This is not Year One. We are into Year Five of this project. It's hard. There are down days. But there are more up days than not. Inbetween, I don't worry. I have to write, keep writing, keep working on the craft.

At the time my editor said that, I thought it was too obvious. But I needed to hear it. I needed to keep working on the craft. One book wasn't going to do it for me. And readers deserve better than that. They need to know you have put your everything into writing what they are reading. Make it easy for them to like you, root for you, and look forward to your future releases. Treat your readers like gold - because they really are and should be treasured as such.

Worrying about stuff you cannot change is plain stupid. Worry about the stuff you can change, then, when you have done all you can, move on.

Aspiring to write the book is not the same as writing the book. You may aspire to get out of bed ten minutes earlier in the morning, but unless you actually do it, it remains aspirational. It won't help you make it as a writer.

Whatever you have to do to get that book written, do it. You may even have to  be a bit selfish to get it done. Your other half may get upset that you spend more time in front of the computer than with them.

Sorry to say, it's not likely to happen unless you knuckle down.

Once it is done, revel in your success as a published author. Amazon has levelled the field. Just make sure when you plant your flowers, they are blooming red roses, and not the kind of weeds everyone tramples over.

You probably won't be revisiting this book again. You will have to move onto other projects.

Write it the best you can. Edit the best you can. Get a professional cover (Photoshop may be great, but poor Photoshop skills will rat you out). Have a killer synopsis.

Tell your friends. Build a Twitter and Facebook following.

And repeat.

To summarise - worrying paralyses you. I know you know this, and for sure, I've done it too.

I've survived two serious health scares since the turn of the century, and I can tell you, I am done with worrying.

I write because it makes me happy, and yes, I'm making some income.

I'm not under any pressure at all >>>>

Not much, anyway.

Here's my link if you want to check out what I do when I'm not teaching!

My Amazon Books List

You can do it too. Quit the worrying and hit those keys.

Good luck!