I've loved reading since before I could make out words written on the page myself. There was something magical about a story being read to me that could make my mind see what wasn’t physically there. It was the magical art of flat-lay taking on the shape of an imaginary world being described with only words. I was hooked!
So, from the time I was eight, I decided that I would write. I wasn’t convinced that I could be a writer, though. I wrote, sometimes for school, when I was older, I would write for work, and occasionally I’d pick up a notebook and write for myself. We all write in some capacity, don’t we? It’s required.
Joseph Epstein claims that over eighty percent of a literate population says that they’ve thought about writing a book, have begun writing, or know they have a book in them. But very few people would ever call themselves a writer. Funny, isn't it?
I suppose it’s no wonder that one of the main questions I’m asked when out meeting with people or speaking is: “How did you become a writer?” Followed by, “I’ve had an idea for a book.”
So, this week, I’m sharing how it’s worked out for me.
Write. No really. Please don’t underestimate the fact that I decided to pursue publishing, therefore I began to write. Regularly.
I had a haphazard blog in 2008. I had another one in 2010. I scribbled notes in my journal when I had ideas, and I began a fresh notebook each January with the intention of getting to my craft someday. But in 2016 when I decided I wanted to do something more with a story I had filed away on my computer, I knew it was time to commit. I write five days a week, no compromise. Sometimes I give myself word counts, other times I give myself tasks. Whatever works for you, make it stick, and stick to it. A great resource for this mindset groundwork and beginning writer’s journey is You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins. I didn’t find this book until 2017 after my first book was published, and could’ve done things so. much. better. So, you’re welcome. Learn from my mistakes, please! Another great resource that has helped me with my writing habits and goal-reaching is the book Finish: Give Yourself The Gift Of Done by Jon Acuff.
Research. Since this was something entirely new for me, I felt like I had to have a complete education on the matter. But it’s not necessarily true. Just know that you have to understand a bit of the ins and outs of the business. And there are essentially two choices.
Traditional publishing and Self-publishing. The differences are explained well here. However, there’s also what is called a hybrid way of publishing. Learn about that here. Since I was still working full time, I decided to go with a hybrid publisher. A lot of overwhelming information about this new-to-me writer’s world was condensed into a step-by-step process that I could easily plow through. After all, I had the writing thing built into my schedule, so I had to figure out how to do the business side of things, and the hybrid program allowed me to publish within my first 9 months of pursuing this dream.
For me, it was well worth the money because I was able to see my book published without having to beg someone to pay attention to me and my work. And oh, what work it was! I wasn’t looking to change careers at the time, I just wanted to fulfill that dream of holding my very own book in my hands. And that was the easiest way for me to do it. My trilogy is published under the program authoracademyelite.com
Have a coach. One of the great things about the program I chose is that it came with coaching calls. But after the initial time period expired, I didn’t just sit back and think that I had accomplished what I wanted, and that was it. I needed help with what was next.
How do I get my work to be read? What is it that people want to hear from me? How do I get this whole new education and continue working toward my goals at the same time? Will anyone ever buy what I’m pouring my heart and soul into? I mentioned in last week’s blog post that I follow a few people online closely. That little book I picked up that helped me learn all the stuff I didn’t do right the first time? It led me to the guy I’ve learned more from in this business than any other. If you are a writer or creative in any capacity, check out Jeff Goins and his products. You won’t be sorry! To me, personal coaching for spirituality and business alike are so important, and I have a coach for that too. Her name is Erin, and all of her services are listed here. I can't express the importance of finding what fits you.
The other girl I've told you about who has helped me out so much is Cathy Heller. There's still time to join me in a private Facebook group where we'll dive into her content. You'll need to preorder the book, Don't Keep Your Day Job and fill out this form. We'll be starting in August by listening to and discussing a few highlight podcast episodes, and once the book comes out in the fall, we'll take it one chapter at a time. I'd love to see you in our group! Trust me, this is the stuff I'm talking about that can be LIFE-CHANGING!! Whether it’s a course you buy, a one-time coaching session, or a mastermind group you join, find someone you can relate to who’s doing things well and let them lead you as you work toward your goals. I think we can all use each other’s insight in some capacity and the investment is absolutely worth it. Your work deserves it.
Put yourself out there. I think for writers and creatives this bit can be the most difficult.
When I quit my job two years ago, I gave myself the word limitless. I wasn’t going to put limits on what I was exploring. All art, all creativity, all avenues of my new-found career. But guess what happened.
I’ll tell you.
It wasn’t fun anymore.
I thought maybe I had made a mistake.
The mistake was this: I didn’t have a plan for the art I was creating, so I never really wanted to share it. ANY of it. And that was counter to all that I had been working toward. So, after some more of that coaching I am such a fan of, I realized that the personal growth side of things was imperative.
Keep showing up for yourself, keep working, but by all means, keep sharing.
Your work isn’t going to be loved by everyone. But someone will love it. I promise. It might take you a while to find them. When we’ve got all the information in the world at the tip of our fingers, trust me, it’ll take a sec for you to find them, and for them to find you. But just keep sharing while you’re creating. Your peeps are out there. I think a great way to do this is to not just be on social media, but interact with the people there. The people whose work you love.
Talk to them, and build relationships. That’s how they’ll see you, and you’ll truly see them.
There’s not quite enough of that in our world.
Here’s to you and your work, friend. I see you. Thanks for joining me on my journey. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us both!
*** This is the second in a series of blogpost/Facebook Live videos where I'm answering your questions and tackling subjects you've asked me about. If you haven't followed along on Facebook yet, you can do so here. Be sure to "like" this page to follow along, and leave a comment whether you catch a video live or on replay, so I can say hello to you and personally respond to your comments and questions! Thanks for joining me on this journey, friends. I'm amazed at what we can accomplish together! ***