Oh jeez, where do I start with this pep talk. I know you’re thinking: A pep talk? Really? Yes, indeedy. I have a lot author friends, clients, Facebook friends, followers, etc., so I hear a variety of gripes, tales of woe, burning hatred, and envy for a plethora of reasons like “Why can’t I crank out books like so and so?” or “Where in the heck do they find those cover models?” and “Did they even reread their book before they hit publish?”.
Part of being an editor is lending an impartial shoulder to lean on—an ear to hear all you need to vent about the business. I like being an advice giver and a person who can help solve an author’s problems. It’s what I like to do and it seems that I’ve been coming to the rescue more often, so to speak. While I don’t mind this, I thought that a good article would be more focused on an author’s mentality instead of their technical merit for once. So here it is, the pep talk.
The grass is always greener.
Yep, Sally Susie over there has an excellent cover, the editing is perfect, and her story just hit the best-seller lists like everywhere. So stop comparing yourself to her. You’re not her, nor will you ever be. Stop wondering why her book is selling so well while your ranking sits at one million in the Kindle store. Your book might be just as excellent, but something didn’t happen for you that it did for Sally Susie. What you can do is keep writing and keep publishing. When you compare yourself to other authors, it will only make you crazy. Be your own writer. Be confident.
My muse has died.
AHH!! I hate this because it’s happened to me too many times than I can count. The Fix: get inspired. Grab a book, watch a movie, make a scrapbook on your characters, do something that doesn’t let your creative juices run dry. Go brainstorm with your editor or fellow authors. Turn on the radio or listen to your playlist. DANCE!
Rough drafts aren’t evil stepchildren.
So you written your first draft and go back to read it and freak the heck out. It’s terrible! How did you write this dribble? Why, God, oh why did I ever think I could write a book? Well, stop that crap now! Rough drafts aren’t final drafts. That’s the magic of writing. No one has to see it but you. The best thing about rough drafts are just that, they are rough and you have plenty of time to revise before anyone reads your lovely words.
No one is buying my book!
There are so many reasons why your book doesn’t sell. I mean, so many. Unfortunately, the over saturation of books and book sellers changing their standards left and right makes it hard to get established . Everybody and their mama wants to sell a book like E.L. James, but it’s not in the cards for the ordinary writer. It may take years and dozens of books before you can really make a living as an author. Hitting the jackpot with a hot book even close to the juggernaut of Fifty Shades is unrealistic. What you can do is build a library behind your name, do the groundwork of promotion, get to know your readers, schmooze, market the hell out of your book, and you will see the turnaround.
You’re not a superhuman.
Yes, we all have lives and writing isn’t a full-time job for most of us. Don’t get yourself down when you fall asleep at the computer or want to go out with friends instead of outlining your next chapter. It’s okay to put your book on the back burner so you don’t go insane.
Don’t give up!
Even if you’re a publishing veteran or a newbie just starting out. Finish that story. I have to remind myself of this, too. I have yet to go beyond chapter five of anything, but I’m nowhere close to giving up. I will finish and I will do it soon. You have to believe in yourself to achieve your dreams.
Author drama llamas.
Ugh! What can I say? The mean girls aspect of writing can happen. If you’re not sitting at the cool table, so be it. Stop caring what other people think and care about the quality of your product. Hold your head high and walk past the cliquish author groups that only spread hate. It’s not worth your time.
Fall in love with your words again.
Sometimes we have to go back to square one to appreciate the love we have for writing. I started out writing fan fiction years ago. I remember I could sit down at the computer and write and write in an endless trance. The words flowed and I loved it. Along the way something changed. I don’t know if it was because I started editing or if it was something else, but I lost that real love I had. If this has happened to you, take a step back and discover why you’re writing in the first place. What was the feeling you had when you did write? I have started to listen to the music I listened to back all those years ago. It has spurred something in me and I started writing again. So maybe you need old inspiration to find your love again. Try it, see what happens.