Long ago and far away, there was a cranky California mom who loved to sit in front of her computer and write. She’d write endlessly, for hours and hours, spitting out the most beautiful words ever put down on paper (or at least that’s what she thought).
Then the day came when she was hit with a brilliant idea….what if I try to publish my amazing stories? Should be easy, right? Push a few buttons on Amazon and whammo….a published author I shall be.
Fast forward to the real world, where the hours spent writing are minimal in comparison to the business of writing. Yes folks, writing is a business. I’m in no way an expert on the task of self-publishing, but what I have learned is that you must spend time every day working on your craft. If you’re lucky, a few of those hours might be in that far away land, with your beautiful characters and all their crazy problems. But chances are, most days will be spent learning the ins and outs of marketing, keeping up a presence on social media, and putting up yet another thing on the blasted calendar that looms in front of you shouting silently, “GET TO WORK!”
So this business I’m talking about….it’s more than an 8 to 5 thing. For those out there like me, this business wakes us in the middle of the night. There are never-ending lists of to-dos in various places throughout the house, and I’m fairly certain we writers must own stock in Post-It notes. This business of ours, for those of us who take on the brave task of self-publishing, is a 24/7, underpaid, mostly underappreciated job.
Would I trade it for anything else?
Nope. Not a chance.
Sure, I won’t lie and say that I don’t dream about the big publishing contract and the endless amount of people solely devoted to my book. But I also live in the real world; the world that apparently publishes 4,000 new books each day (I read that little tid-bit on Twitter). In my real world writing is a lonely business, and my salvation is bouncing stories and ideas off family members, and the few cherished conversations I have online with other authors.
This crazy business, with all its editors, formatters, designers, Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Createspace – the list goes on and on – is a fluid beast. Thank God for social media, which has quite literally been my saving grace; my teacher, my voice of reason, my partner in crime. Every morning I log on to Twitter and get my daily dose of encouragement and kinship, and I end every night doing the same. I can’t spend too much time browsing, though; this business is constantly calling.
My book is now off to the editor and thus begins the crazy roller-coaster last few months before publication. Want to know a secret? I’m more unsettled about the editor’s feedback than I ever will be sharing it with the masses. Either way you open yourself up for condemnation. But really, isn’t that just another part of this business we love?
Amidst my enormous wall calendar, Post-It notes, and various reminders stuck to the walls of my office, is a quote I tacked up right after my first book was published in 2014. “Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.” This is my daily reminder that even though the business of writing may be less than glamorous, the writing itself is the reward. Sitting down to a blank page with ideas floating around in your head and a story bursting to be told, is one of the greatest feelings in the world. So I’ll take the lists and emails and constant reminders. I’ll do the work, put in the hours, and greedily absorb every single bit of advice I can, as long as I can write. Because really…isn’t that the reason why we do what we do?