This Writers' Wednesday, Pauline Baird Jones, an award-winning novelist who writes romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery, as well as several short story collections, offers a timely reminder not to lose track of the sheer joy of writing as we pursue our self-publishing ambitions.
This an exciting (and crazy) time to be an author. We have more choices and opportunities than any of us could have ever have predicted (even with our big imaginations).
But in opportunity, there is also chaos.
It’s like we went from managing a window box garden to dealing with acres and acres of crops. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the “you must do this right now or your sales will fall precipitously, bringing shame to indie publishing, and launching the zombie apocalypse.”
Who wants to be responsible for that?
So we put our heads down and labor in our book gardens, managing rights, tending to keywords, promoting, learning and listening to everyone and everything—and we do it while writing what we hope will be The Next Big Thing, propelling us to riches and fame (and saving our brains from the zombies).
There is so much to learn, so much we can do, that I sometimes find myself spinning like a top, while my “crops” wilt from all the dust I’m kicking up.
And if I don’t stop, if I don’t quit comparing my progress to everyone around me, then I will crash into the wall—or turn into a zombie.
I take a deep breath.
Actually several of them.
And I remind myself that I am the Big Boss (and occasionally Evil Over Lord) of my acreage, wholly in charge of everything—and that includes ME.
If I don’t take care of me, then the Muse not only shuts down it kicks up a mini zombie apocalypse inside my head (how sad is it to eat my own brain?), and creates even more havoc to the book garden.
This is when I go back to the beginning when I did this for fun. That’s when I remember why I started this madness.
I go back to when I wrote because I loved it. When I wrote because I couldn’t not tell the stories bubbling inside me.
I remember what it felt like to watch the words spilling out of my head and onto the computer screen. I recall how it felt to get that first good review. And that first fan letter. That perfect moment when someone got what I wrote.
That’s why I did it. In the end, that’s why I still do it.
Yes, I am running a business, and I try very hard to run my business well, but if I only wrote for business reasons, well, there are easier, less public ways to suffer.
I chose to start writing. I choose to publish what I write. I brought this on myself, but…
…I get to choose how I do it. I get to choose how fast—or slow—I write.
My garden is my kingdom and I get to rule it my way. If I don’t want to do something, that’s okay. If I want to take off my business hat and get in touch with my inner child, or not write that book in the hot new genre, that’s okay, too.
Because the other great thing about indie publishing right now? We have time:
- Time to build
- Time to connect with the readers who will like what we write
- Time to stop, to start over, to try, to fail, and to try again
We can do it our way without bringing about the end of the world as we know it.
OVER TO YOU What do you love best about being an indie author? How do you keep it fun while staying focused? We'd love to know!