Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Old Frenemy: Patience

You know the worst thing about being a writer? An independent, self published writer, that is. Listen children, lean in close and I will tell you a secret.

The worst thing? Hands down?


Now for those of you who don't know me: I am not known for my patience. In fact, I might be one of the most singularly impatient people ever. And that is not a character trait that is very helpful in the writing world.

So you have a story idea. Good, great, FANTASTIC. Now you have to write out the thing. The whole blasted thing. And then you need to edit it. And edit it some more. Then send it to some trusted beta readers so they can shred it to bits. And then ... you guessed it, edit some more. Plus, never forget the extra time necessary to fix everything your edits may have broken. Okay, now you have a manuscript.

Next comes book cover design. Formatting. Such simple words- but the process can take forever. Even when these steps are finally (FINALLY) finished, you still have to wait on the uploading process for whatever distributor you choose. And believe me, this takes at least a bazillion times longer than you would expect. There will always be some formatting gremlin mucking things up. 

Formatting? You think you did it right? Ha. 

But then comes the day when your fresh, shiny book is released. Want to know what comes next? More waiting. And you guessed it, patience. It takes a lot of time to build up a reader audience. A fan base. So you will probably find yourself obsessively checking your sale numbers and reviews, hoping against hope that your book finally "made it."

The sad truth is that pretty much every step of the writing journey involves patience. Or even worse, waiting for someone else to do something.

Now after all of this, you may think I'm trying to discourage you. Or you think: This gal is doing a HORRIBLE job at encouraging us. But I am trying to be honest. And I am, strange as it may seem, trying to encourage you.

At the end of the day, the only thing we have control over is our words. The story we tell. If you get caught up in too much of the other stuff, you forget what is important. You have to focus on writing: Keep it up and never stop.

 I know what I'm talking about. Not because I'm a shining example of what to do, more the other way round. I have a tendency to get so lost in the other stuff, that I forget the importance of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). It is very hard to rip out a piece of your soul and put it out there for the world to judge. When the world seems a little less than enthused, or if it doesn't really even notice in the first place, it is really hard not to let that get to you.

Please, and this is for you and me: Don't let it get to you. Don't stop writing. This writing journey can be a lonely one, but don't give up. Find a lovely group of friends who support you and never stop believing in the story you have to share. Spend the time necessary to promote your book and gain readership. But at the end of the day, block it all out and get back to the words.

Because the story is important enough to never give up on.

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