Many readers of this blog recently enjoyed Satya Robyn's recent guest post about writing “small stones”. Today we turn the focus on Satya herself – psychotherapist, Buddhist monk and self-published author – to find out how and why she has become a best-selling self-published writer, with, as of this month, five novels to her name.
Am I a success? What is success anyway? I've learnt to be wary of both praise and blame… (although praise is very nice, isn't it?) I wouldn't like to suggest that it'll work for everyone, but it's been important for me to stay true to myself, follow my intuition, be patient, and have faith. Clichés, but sometimes clichés remind us of what works.
What was the single best thing you ever did?
Sign up on a whim for a Buddhist psychotherapy course in 2009. As a result I got a psychotherapy qualification, became a Buddhist priest, and bagged myself a husband! He was a celibate Buddhist monk when I met him.
Did you get lucky? What happened?
I wonder if it's always a mixture of hard work and luck… After publishing three novels with a small publisher, we (my husband Kaspa and I) decided to self-publish my fourth novel The Most Beautiful Thing early last year. We used the KDP Select free promotion tool at a time when not many other authors were using it, and sky-rocketed up the charts. A year and a half later it is still hovering around the 50s of the literary fiction charts. I was lucky to have some lovely reviews early on, and I have built up a few fans over my years of being a writer. It'll be interesting to see what happens with my next novel Afterwards, which could do better, the same, or could sink without a trace.
How do you stay in the creative mode?
I don't. I just make myself sit at my desk and open my manuscript. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. Writing is hard for most (all) writers – the important thing is to keep on going. Of course, getting creative nourishment is vital too – writing small stones, going out into nature, looking at other artist's work, moodling, reading poetry, eating cake…
How do you prioritise?
My writing comes first. In theory. This means I write during the morning before I do any of my other work. I schedule my psychotherapy clients for the afternoon and evening, and everything else fits in around the edges. I'm a teensy bit of a workaholic so I try not to work at weekends but often fail.
My new novel Afterwards is being launched on Tuesday 27th November. I've asked artists qne poets to make me something new, inspired by the word Afterwards – they'll all be online in a virtual gallery. Come along and eat virtual nibbles with me. We're also running another Mindful Writing Challenge in January, where people will write a small stone every day for 31 days as a way of falling in love with the world again.