Monday Motivation: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint (For Authors)

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I was telling someone the other day how relieved I am to have my most recent novel FINALLY done.

“When did you release your last book?” They asked.
“2014.”
“What took you so long?”

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There are a lot of authors out there who are writing and publishing many books (and often), and have figured out what their readers want and are actually making an impressive living just writing books. 

To those writers, I have this to say: friends, authors, countrymen: lend me your wallets.

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Seriously, though.

Many authors are able to write books at a miraculous speed. I, however, am just not one of those authors. Making peace with that has saved me a ton of anxiety and has allowed me to avoid the oh so ugly comparison trap. There’s a lot of pressure for authors to “keep up,” but if you’re someone who can’t crank out books as fast as some of our other author pals, don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone has their own particular set of strengths. Someone who can write a book a day may not be able to beat you in Foosball, or a potato sack race.

So don’t worry if you can’t keep up! Just continue writing the best stories you can and who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to write a book in a day. But even then, you’ll neeeever be able to beat me in Foosball, honey. Not even in your dreams!

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The Power of Being Single-Minded: Focusing on One Main Goal to Achieve Success

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Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The co-hosts for this month are Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

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 I have this AMAZING friend who is super talented. Like super, super, talented. She’s a photographer, cinematographer, makeup artist, maker of au naturel scrubs and body butters, event planner, and a master craftswoman. I am not making this up, you guys. She’s talented at each and every one of these things. So much so, that she had trouble deciding which thing to focus on.

Last year, she helped me decorate my table at a vendor’s event (I was there selling my world famous pralines, because that’s how I roll), and while there, we bumped into a business consultant. She said, “People keep raving about your candy,” and had a sample (and then of course, she brought herself some). We began to chat and my friend mentioned all of her different endeavors. The woman said, “You will not be able to be successful unless you focus on one thing.”

My friend said, “But I can’t pick. I’m good at all of these things. And plus, I love them all.”

“Okay. Maybe you can focus on a couple of things that kind of overlap, but if you want to see some real success, you’re going to have to narrow things down.”

“But I can’t.”

The woman shrugged, “Well, you’ll just have a bunch of hobbies, then.”

My friend was so upset! She was like, “How can this woman who doesn’t even know me and what I’m capable of tell me what I can and can’t achieve?”

Well, fast forward a few months, and guess what? My friend began making these pieces for children’s parties that really took off. And I mean really. Due to demand, she began focusing on her craft business only and you probably already guessed what happened: that business grew by leaps and bounds. Later, she said, “Oh my God, that woman was right! Ever since I started focusing on my craft business, it’s grown so much more than it would have if I was splitting my time between fifty million ventures.”

Why do I tell this story? Because it also applies to writing: in order to be successful at it, we have to become single-minded.

sin·gle-mind·ed
adjective
1.having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose.
synonyms:determined, committed, unswerving, unwavering, resolute,purposeful, devoted

 
If some of you are like me, then your creativity can be both a blessing and a curse. I have so many entrepreneurial ideas that I hardly have a place to put them. Some things relate to my writing, some things don’t. “I could totally do ______________________,” I’ll say to myself. “That should make me a pretty penny!” And then I’ll focus on said thing and then be totally miserable because I’m not focusing 100% on my writing.

What if you:

  1. Set writing goals and wrote as much as you could, even when you didn’t feel like it.
  2. Took the time to write the best possible story that you could write, even if that meant getting out of your comfort zone. Why not push yourself and write the stories that challenge you?
  3. Dusted off those old manuscripts and resubmitted them to agents/publishers or published them yourself.
  4. Conquered your fear of public speaking by reading your work in public.
  5. Really learned how to market yourself both online and locally (and not just doing a Tweet and run like I do )
  6. Weren’t afraid to promote yourself by actually telling people that you wrote a book–and even better, having a physical copy to either give away or show.
  7. Reached out to some of the book clubs in your city. Why not ask them to read your book?
  8. Got some press: small newspapers and local tv shows.
  9. Participated in an author’s expo either in your city or in a surrounding area. And if they don’t have one, why not start your own?
  10. Reached out to your local library and coordinated a reading. And why not submit a press release for the occasion?
  11. Went to at least one book conference a year where you could meet readers.
  12. Allowed life to take it’s course! Things happen. Many of them unexpected, but don’t let things derail you to the point that you give up. Take the time you need to regroup, get the support you need (hello, blogger community!), and get back at it.
  13. Were kind to yourself (GREAT advice from L. Penelope). We face enough negativity and doubt as writers. The last thing you need is to join the naysayers!

Inspiration

If you had put a hundred percent into your career five years ago, where would you be? Where will you be in five years if you vowed right this second to treat your writing like a business and dedicated 100% to it?

Side note: On my first go, I accidentally typed a dollar sign as opposed to the percent sign, but I think that “Where would you be if you dedicated $100 to your writing career is also a valid question:)

What say you, folks? I’d love to hear your thoughts!