As November rolls along and we gather for our holiday grazing, I find myself reflecting back on my very first year, and a couple of months within the world of writing and being an author. Way back in July of 2017 I released my very first book after roughly 2 years of working on it. The Keeper Chronicles was birthed, so to speak. I didn’t know what I was doing, in some cases, I still don’t. After several long moments of disbelief and giddy wonderment, it was out there, a piece of me, a vision created from my mind. I still get that feeling with each new release, I still feel like “did I just do that, again?” and it never gets old.
As I recently hit the 50k word mark on The Keeper Chronicles Book 4, yes I can’t believe it either, I took a moment to remember all that I’ve learned, all that I’ve discovered, and all that I wished I would have forgotten. I entered this world of authors a newborn, the scars and hard edges a testament to my craft, the crippling doubts, and feeling of busted self-worth free of charge with every entry. Listed below are just a few of those…
- Nothing you can do besides writing will ever get words on paper. Trust me, I’ve tried. Push past lazy days and worthless feelings and just write. No magic spell, no superpower, no sneaky ghostwriter that lives in the basement will ever finish that line, that chapter, that book except you. Do it!
- Social media is both a boon and a curse, a necessary evil. One can lose hours branding, catching up, hanging out, and picking up tidbits of useful information from others. Befriend those in your genre, those outside it. Share the love and retweet, favors and virtual handshakes go a long way to making your dream a reality and making someone’s day. Utilize, share, collect, learn, and leave, there’s writing that needs to get done! Come back to it later, don’t make it a full adventure every day.
- No one’s path to print is ever the same. Trust everyone, trust no one. Learn, research, read, and watch. Take everything you’ve collected with a grain of salt and find your own way. There’s no definitive guide only “this is how I did it” or “watch me” all of which help but no one is going to make that decision except you. Traditional or self-publish is your call and both come with their own courses of action. Ask questions, draw experience from the process.
- Be proactive, about everything! Write your blurb, study formatting tips, editing options, and research cover ideas while shopping around for a decent and fair price or make your own if you’re artsy. Make the decision for you, for your work, for the driving force in your head that says “this is what we want” and never be swayed by people’s assumption, opinions, or personal choices.
- You’re going to forget a step, maybe two or more. Don’t get discouraged. Make a list, carry on, learn from your mistakes.
- Never look at someone else’s mountain, climb your own. In the world of writing there will always be someone ahead of you, someone always behind. Never judge, never become envious, and never ever look back unless it’s to extend a hand to someone just starting out. Learn from those ahead, help those behind. Remember, you too once sat looking at a blank screen as visions of storylines danced in your head.
- Read when you can! Read other writers in your genre, read books outside your own. Study how their stories flow, understand the process and enjoy. Mostly all authors are readers, all readers are not always authors. Read indie books, those people are your tribe, for the most part. Leave a review, share the love.
- Join clubs, Facebook groups, or writing communities only if you love the idea of what’s offered and want to be a part of it, or if it’s going to serve your pursuits to be involved. If it requires time sinks that pull you from writing, consider and weigh the cons and pros. Some are great and worth the additional time and effort, some will drain your energy, time, creativity, and wallet quicker than a trip to Vegas.
- Dare to dream, live to create. Use memories, senses, and people around you for inspiration. Never let someone tell you that you can’t put that in your book, it’s yours, it’s your baby. If you want purple rhinos and a cross-dressing ninja that smokes a corncob pipe in your book, do it! If it makes sense to you, if it fits into your idea, vision, creation, run with it!
- Feel free to give yourself all the hugs and all the pats on the back once you finish. Be it a sentence, a chapter, a full book, you deserve it. It’s an accomplishment and others, just like you, understand the struggle, the work, the turmoil of having done it. Don’t expect the praise, don’t live for acknowledgment. Be proud of yourself and let that creative light shine on regardless of who thinks otherwise. You did good, well done, congratulations and welcome to the club! Much love, much respect!
As I draw my sword and continue to trek upwards upon my own mountain I take everything I learned along the way, some to the heart, some to the head. I have found my way, my path, sometimes completely alone, sometimes alongside word warriors much like myself. Are there words of wisdom, or lessons learned that I forgot, probably. Is there more to learn, hell to the yes! It’s been a journey and it’s one that I’m not stopping anytime soon.
Have anything you’d like to share? Are there any lessons of tidbits of information you want to include?? Let me know! Just don’t take too long, there’s writing to be done!
Photo Credit: The Old God of the Northern Mountains by Bjarke Pedersen, 2016. Website at, https://www.artstation.com/bjarkepedersen