Sorry for the shameless self promotion in the title!
What’s that? You’ve never heard of my self-published, sci-fi psychological thriller series called Between Two Minds. That makes this sufficiently awkward. Well, now you know! And sorry…again…I think.
Anyway, it has recently become obvious to me that the namesake of my series really is the experience of many indie authors. Their thoughts are constantly at odds.
|Mind One||Mind Two|
|Edit that book/chapter/scene more||Call it done|
|Write books||Market books|
|Write more||Do literally anything else|
|Work to pay bills (i.e. day job)||Work to be fulfilled (i.e. write)|
|Outsource marketing (pay)||Do it yourself (still pay)|
|Give your books away for free||Risk having a small readership|
|Not enough posting about your work||Too much posting about your work|
|Release the next book||Throw it away|
|Keep going||Crawl under a rock|
You’re not alone
Spend any time among the writing communities on social media, and you’ll find authors, writers, and novelists who are just as ambivalent. Some days are better than others, but the occasional “Writing? I literally can’t even” post will appear every now and then. It seems that the mental struggles that accompany normal life aren’t magically solved when you discover that writing is a passion. If anything, the struggles get worse.
Why does this happen?
Most non-writers don’t understand what it means to be an indie author. They usually fall into two camps. Some think it’s a neat little hobby you have. Others think you’ll be famous in no time. For the indie authors themselves, it’s an unbridled passion. It gives them the power to write the stories only they can write and release them how and when they want to. But with great power comes great responsibility. On top of the long and arduous process of writing books, indie authors typically must manage every other aspect of their brand:
- Finding editors
- Finding beta readers
- Content management
- Social media presence
- More writing
This isn’t even a comprehensive list and doesn’t include that fact that indie authors almost always have a day job, family, social life, and other hobbies that aren’t related to writing. Add it all up, and it’s easy to see how overwhelming it can be, and therein lies the problem.
Writing is like no other passion. You can sit down and put words onto a blank page to build incredible worlds, create relatable characters, and develop amazing plots. Yet, the opportunities to do so can be fleeting. We only have so much time and energy to write. Even if we pump out 2000 words or more in a day, we know that we’ve created still more work for ourselves later when we have to edit those words. Two steps forward. One step back.
What can be done?
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to be more single minded.
Manage your life outside of writing
- It’s easy to get lost in a great WIP and put off major life responsibilities. Avoid this at all cost. Get those important things done so your WIP can have your undivided attention
Routinize brand-building tasks like marketing and social media
- Limit them to 20 minutes daily or less
- Get the job done and don’t overdo it
Make social media/IRL friends who will support your indie author journey
- Be the authentic you
- It can be scary to put yourself out there. What are you good at as a writer? Where do you struggle? Be smart about it as to not feed the trolls, but you have to give to get.
#WritingCommunity on Twitter is my favorite
Make writing time your time
- Schedule it like any other major priority
- Let your friends and family know not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency
- Find a space that is conducive
- It’s available when you are
- It’s free from distractions (I know some writers prefer busy/loud places)
- It makes you feel safe and positive
Keep writing if you can
- Writing slumps come with their own between-two-mindedness. Short, bad writing is better than no writing, and even if it makes more work for you in the future, it’s the whole reason you’re doing this.
Don’t give up. Give yourself a break.
- It’s easy to get in a bad place and want to throw in the towel. Take a breath and a break. It won’t make you any less an indie author. I’m technically in a writing slump at the time of writing this, but I covered in another blog how I’ve begun to embrace it and become a steward of the writing community. I’m spending time building my brand through marketing, blogging, and serving others. Unsurprisingly, the urge to work on my WIPs is getting stronger each day.
Are you an indie author who is between two minds?
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