One of my 2019 resolutions was to stop beating myself up. Trust me when I say, I am the queen of giving myself a hard time. So when life gets tough and I start to miss bookish deadlines, as I did for Bound Beauty, I take it out on myself.
Something I had to re-learn the hard way is to be kind to myself. Sure, we’re taught to be kind and forgiving of one another, but that doesn’t always translate to our own mistakes. Yet if you don’t learn to forgive yourself, you’ll lose the motivation to get back up and try again.
The worst thing that can happen to an artist or creative is to give in to fear of failure.
Writing is a mental game. Don’t do what I did and just ignore the problem, because it will come back to haunt you. Face your fears and challenge yourself on a daily basis. Why are you afraid? Not writing a bestseller (those are super rare btw), or not meeting reader expectations? Or worse, the niggling thought at the back of every writer’s mind: no one will read this.
If this is you and you’re second-guessing yourself, then STOP. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It’s got its own worries enough without you adding to the heap. 😉 All you can do—the best thing in fact—is to keep doing. Keep writing and sharing your work.
Don’t be afraid of criticism or failure. In fact, be brave enough to redefine your definition of failure.
I mentioned before how rare writing a best seller is. Not only do you need the right story (properly edited & formatted of course) but you need the right blurb and cover and, above all: audience. You could have two or maybe even all these things and it won’t guarantee a best seller. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t made your own success. Every book or story you write is a lesson. Take what you’ve done wrong and what went right. Shake up that formula and try again.
Don’t. Give. Up.
Putting yourself out there is always scary, especially when you’re an introvert like me. We’re not good at being in the limelight and we aren’t good at selling ourselves. If this is also you, don’t worry about selling. Worry about telling the best story you possibly can.
If you’re reading this and hoping for some secret formula to selling more books… well, you aren’t at the right blog. 😉 While I would very much like to sell more books, to get back more of what I give, I mostly feel privileged to be able to share my stories with you. That is how I define success. Meanwhile, I’ll continue writing and hopefully, inspire you to pursue your dreams too.
A final endnote:
Not meeting your own bookish deadline is not the end of the world. I was forced to push my Bound Beauty deadline two months later. But in that time, I was also able to have it properly formatted and edited. I realized after the fact that I had placed so much pressure on myself over such a little thing. In the end, I completed my first trilogy while creating a book I’m proud of.
I know I said that was my final endnote, but I’m borrowing one more moment of your time to say this:
Deadlines are good. Deadlines are amazing in fact if you’re a chronic procrastinator. I started Weekly Writerly Witterings with the hope of giving myself a schedule. Since I’ve started blogging, I also learned it’s okay to have weeks (or months lol). It’s okay to step back and remember to love yourself a little too. Your audience will still be there when you come back. Good chance too, they’ve been so busy with a thing they call real life, they didn’t notice your absence. 😉
I hope it encourages you today, to take that one thing you’ve been dreading and claim it. Own it, no matter how big or small it may be. The important thing is to keep writing and reading and of course, we can’t forget: living.