I Know Your Dirty Secret

Are you reading this blog, thinking that your dirty little secret is still just that?

Guess what?

I know…

Wait, not that one. Weird-o.The other one.

You have a little voice inside your head telling you to write a book.

I know this because ever since I wrote my own book, I can’t tell you how many people have approached me with their desire to do just that themselves.

These people are realtors, stay-at-home moms, doctors, lawyers, waiters, journalists, coffee grinders, and, well, you get the picture.

I’ve concluded that pretty much everyone, at some point in his or her life thinks, “I should write a book about…”

But you haven’t done it yet, have you?

Wait, wait don’t tell me why, it ruins the fun. You haven’t started yet because…hmm.

Your idea sucks. Like really sucks. It’s the suckiest book idea to ever enter anyone’s imagination and the thought of putting it down on paper makes you nauseous.

No? Then…

You’ll get around to it. Soon. You promise. You just have a lot going on right now. Or you’re really social and don’t have much time to write.

No? Oh, I see. Well in that case it could only be…

No one will give a damn what you have to say.

The good news (which you glass half-empty people will see as bad) is that you will always feel this way. Forever. Until the end of time. It doesn’t matter how many things you have written, how long or short these written things are, how meaningful or impactful they were on your target audience.

Even the brilliant, witty Elizabeth Gilbert has these fears. And frankly, if she’s worried, the rest of us writers that have had little to no success should be worried, too.

But don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Being fearful of your creativity is healthy. Normal, even. Allowing yourself to be paralyzed by fear, never moving forward to challenge it, however, is not.

Want to pull the wool over the eyes of your self-doubt?

It’s simple. Don’t look back.

When you stop writing and re-read and edit and change, that’s what feeds the inner voice telling you that your writing sucks. Maybe your writing DOES suck. You don’t need to be reminded of that – you just need a good editor. Duh. Which you can find once your book is complete. Which you completed because you didn’t look back.

Is this starting to make sense?

Sometimes what we chalk up to “writer’s block” is nothing more than fear or anxiety. Don’t you dare let those emotions talk you out sharing your story.

I want to read it. Share a link in the comments below.

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Indie Author? Ugh. Awful Writers, Aren’t They?

For some readers, that is.

Self-published novels, you say? They’re poorly written, badly edited and usually have zero in terms of a traceable plot line. No doubt, indie authors are ruining it for everyone, especially for those writers toiling away at more traditional publishing routes.

Heard of the magical, mystical world of self-publishing? Then you’ve probably encountered one or more of these snarky opinions (and much worse). Miraculously (I know that this will shock many of you) “self-published work” isn’t always synonymous with “terrible.” In fact dear challenger of that previous statement, I could share a disturbingly long list of traditionally published work that’s a total waste of shelf space. We all have our opinions.

The reason an indie author chooses to self-publish is entirely personal. Considering the route? Don’t let the stigma of self-publishing dissuade you from doing so. Not sure why so many people think this route is the way to go? Below are a few of the more popular reasons an author chooses to publish their own work. Read on and you may encounter a whole new perspective on the matter.

Building Relationships

We all have stories inside of us. Sometimes, our only goal is to write that one thing and send it off into the world, hoping it connects us with others who may share a similar story. There are no underlying ambitions – no wish for fame or fortune. A self-published work is simply a means to say what you need to say (you’re welcome). Many indie authors that choose this route have no desire to go through a traditional publishing house only to be told that their story isn’t worth the investment. They’re not in it for the money.

Accepting the Challenge

There is a rule in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers which states that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Whether you’ve managed to struggle through those 10,000 hours of writing or not, creating a book is just plain challenging. Good work doesn’t cease at writing a draft. There’s rewriting, editing, getting feedback from readers, and even more rewrites and tweaking. Some writers may go so far as to have a cover created for their work. Heck, you’d be hard-pressed to keep someone from publishing by any means necessary after all of that! Granted, self-publishing comes with its own set of challenges – and all of this helps to make authors better. Challenge accepted.

A Tryout

If you’re an indie author (or considering the path) and you haven’t heard about some of the more wild success stories, you’ve been living under a rock. Amanda Hocking, E.L. James and James Redfield started out with nothing more than a self-published novel – and now they’re laughing all the way to the bank. Need more evidence? Check out this list of self-published success stories by the Huffington Post. While not everyone approaches this line of reasoning when self-publishing, some indie authors see it as a dream, nay – a GOAL to live out the Cinderella story. No query letters. No toiling after just the right agent. And you know what? It really does happen. There’s a lot of work involved, and dare I say it – some luck. But isn’t that the case whether you navigate through traditional or non-traditional routes in an effort to gain fame and fortune? Making millions this way isn’t necessarily easier, it’s just different. Who wants to be the same?

So hey, do me a favor and quit bashing indie authors and self-publishing. Actually, I can’t stop you, if you’re that determined. So instead just know that I, for one, am a lifelong fan of anyone who has the guts and the gumption to tell the world “my art is good enough.”