I'm not going to whine in this post (well, maybe just a little) about being a self-published writer or indie author, but...
Some mornings I wake up and feel like I’m going to have a panic attack as I stare at the blank page of my MS Word document. Or at the words mockingly gazing back at me that I’d written the day before. The pressure to get another book published feels like heavy weight on my shoulders. Adrenaline floods my veins. My limbs vibrate. I even start to doubt my own writing skills…
My head even tells my creative muse that watching all those TV shows on the DVR sound like more fun than trying to be creative today. The cat rubs against my legs and meows as if to say, “Let’s cuddle and skip that writing stuff.” (I admit that it’s hard to resist kitty.)
At first, I was super excited to write my New Adult novel, but I soon realized that I’d been writing horror and paranormal romance for so long that a contemporary novel was somewhat out of my comfort zone. I had written other novels like this before but not in about six years. And I was struggling to write the more romantic elements of the story, because I just wasn’t “feeling” it. Anyone who knows me, understands that I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. I like some element of romance in almost everything I read or watch.
Yet I was stuck on the romance aspect of my current WIP and it made me want to quit. So I reached out to one of my editors, who is great at writing/editing romance to help me rewrite those scenes, and one of my long-term critique partners for help.
Sometimes having someone else read or edit your work and offer suggestions on ways to enhance a subplot or a scene can unblock your creative muse. It was a cry for help, but I didn’t want to give up on this MS. Those two actually helped me get past my own writer’s doubt and feel inspired again.
CPs are just all kinds of awesomesauce in my opinion. They help to remind you that you LOVE writing and not to give up whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or want to quit.
I try not to work on other manuscripts while I’m revising/writing one. Often I’ll get ideas that inspire me and I’m lured into quitting one MS to start a new one, but I force myself to stay with the one I’ve already started. A few night ago, I had this idea for a story about a werewolf and got up to feverishly jot down notes. Then as I reread what I wrote, I told myself that this story would have to wait. I had to finish my WIP and write another book in one of my YA series first.
I’m actually envious of other writers that can start a new novel or jump back into a series back-to-back. It takes my brain a month or so to move out of one story world and jump into another. I usually need some downtime between writing projects, but as an indie author that can kill my sales. But if I don’t do any promotion or marketing that can kill my sales, too. It is such a double-edged sword!
I used daydream about being traditionally published and my only job would be to write. No other obligations. No promoting. No cover design. No endless editing. Just write…
But the more I read and hear and learn about being published by one of the big six (or is it 5 now?) the less I dream about it.
As I did my taxes for last year, I realized that I made a lot more money than I thought. And so far this year, I’m making even more and it has helped that most of my books have been featured on Amazon’s top 100 lists over the last five months. (Thank you to my awesome readers!)
I was thinking about querying my New Adult WIP, but after talking to good writer friend whose sister is traditionally published and the nightmare she is going through, I am having second thoughts.
And to be honest, I am a bit of a control freak. I actually like being the “publisher” and setting my own prices, creating my own book covers, and being paid every month. And I don’t want to wait 1 to 2 years to release a new book.
And after I read this blog post by a bestselling mid-list author: http://www.genreality.net/the-reality-of-a-times-bestseller I’m not sure I still dream about being published by the big six anymore.
Although, it might be nice to be published by a smaller indie publisher, where I’d get more control over the production.
My goal for 2015 now?
I think what I need to do is write FASTER. Publishing a new book every three to four months would really help. But I’ve also made the mistake of publishing a book too soon and getting a few negative reviews.
Over the last two years, I’ve heavily revised my already published books at least twice, which kept me from writing anything new. Although, as I learn and grow as a writer, I want all of my books to be the best they can be too.
I also got sidetracked from my writing by designing premade book covers. I was having so much fun creating them that I did ditch my WIP for about six weeks. I knew I needed to refocus my time on what I love to do...WRITE! So I bought a ton of New Adult books from Amazon and emerged myself in the genre, feeling determined to finish my WIP and get re-inspired. So between reading and working with my CPs and editor, my WIP started to shine again and I felt a renewed sense of love for the book I was writing. Still, the whole process has seemed painstakingly slow.
But how to write faster? Maybe it is time to go from pantser to plotter?
I read Steve Windsor’s book, “NINE DAY NOVEL,” and Libbie Hawkers's "Take your Pants Off" handbooks and they each gave me some great tips on how to write faster, and then I downloaded Scrivener. It seems complicated to learn, but it’s such an awesome writing program that I want to try, so I’m going to test it out and attempt to start outlining.
Once this current WIP is finished, I think it’s time to go back to what I feel most comfortable writing—paranormal. I have some page-turning ideas for the sequel to LOST IN STARLIGHT so that will be my next project.
What are your goals for 2015?
How many books can you write a year?
What do you do to overcome doubt or writer's block?
I'd love to hear about how other writers deal with these issues and your goals for 2015, so please leave a comment!