Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 4

Sticking To One Genre Of Writing

Be open to writing other things besides novels. It’s interesting to read and listen to some writers whose basis for measuring other writers’ writing career depends on published novels while leaving novellas, short stories and poetry behind for those whom they term ‘amateur writers.’




Writing, Writing Career, Short Stories, Stories, Novels, Poetry

A ‘writing career’ is first all about writing and earning a living through your writing. Then the second aspect of your writing career is choosing to specialize. Focusing on one area narrows your reach. Some writers struggle to acknowledge themselves as one because they have don’t have published novels in their catalogue thereby underrating their creative channels.

A good number of magazines publish fiction and you could boost your income by getting short stories and poems published.

There are possibilities that if you have more publishing credits under your belt you will find a publisher for your books faster.

While waiting for the jackpot of writing that earth-shattering novel that would sell for a movie – which would probably take years, if ever, you could tap into the goldmine of short stories, novellas, poetry etc.

Get pragmatic! Check here for more writing tips.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer sticking to a certain genre of writing?




Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 2

That Single Title Won’t Make You Rich

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. In the writing life, a year is nothing. Writing, writing career, published, books, titles

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You did it. Finally, you’ve published that book. Your sweat, blood and gore went into it. Now it’s time to sit before the fireplace with a glass of wine and rub your palm in anticipation of counting all the dough that will roll in.

This is somewhat embarrassing, but most times our first book and I daresay several titles after hardly causes the Richters scale to shift in our bank balance.

I have to admit that after I published my first poetry book I had high expectations in my bubbly dream world, but soon enough, reality slapped me awake. Quitting one’s hustle and day job was not going to happen quickly.

Anticipating that you’ll be paying bills with your book advance and ROI from your book may not happen by the end of the year or even many years to come.




You might even strike gold and have an agent sign you on, but the challenge of successfully shopping it around and selling it is still a huge probability.

In some cases, when the agent is unsuccessful, they drop you, which is devastating to any writer. As a matter of fact after such unpalatable news, some writers hibernate from writing another word for several years.

Slogging away on a book and revising it for months on end is hard work and the rejections simply make the process discouraging and leaves you with the feeling that you are just wasting your time.

Keep The Slogging Going

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. When you read success stories of authors breaking the bank on a first book, keep in mind that there’s a back story. They probably have many years of slogging it out, rejections and many drafts stashed away in their files. If you research the big-earner indies like H.M. Ward, Meredith Wild, C. J. Lyons and co., they have dozens of published books out there.




In the writing life, a year is nothing. Think of several years and write because you absolutely love writing. Write because without writing your life would be incomplete. Don’t write with the thoughts of becoming an overnight success. Even The Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowling of our world had their disappointments before the breakthroughs.

On a serious note, you may need to do something different to earn some income and fill in the gaps while pursuing your writing career.

Whether you are self or traditionally published, till you have several published titles in your kitty, you’re not likely to make enough money to live your dream life.

 

 

Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 1

Sabotaging Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off

Writing, Learn Rules, Writing Career, Mistakes, Memoir

image credit – pexels

Yes, we all learn from our mistakes, however, we don’t have to make all the mistakes before we learn. We can equally learn from the mistakes of others.

In the pursuit of our writing careers, there are mistakes that have the potential to truncate it even before it begins. I am not excited to say that I have made a good number of them and still working to dig myself out of my errors.

I am equally ashamed to say that I fall into the category of writers with piles of half-finished stories and essays yet to be polished and sent to potential publishers.

The great thing is that though these mistakes might derail your quest for a while, with the right approach, you can get back on track.

Writing ‘A Pipe Dream.’

I’ve met a lot of would-be writers who are either ‘working on a book,’ or planning ‘to start working’ on one – when they can find the time – and most of them have worked on that elusive book of theirs for years and years that they’ve even forgotten what the story was about in the first place.

Interestingly, they don’t share their attempts with anyone. They also hardly bother to read guides, blogs or articles that could help to improve their writing career. If you are such a closet writer who fails to show your work to anybody and unable to compare it to what’s obtainable out there, you are living in that highly deceptive fantasy land that your work is fabulous.

For some reason, lots of nonfiction writers think that writing a how-to book, a memoir or an autobiography is easier to write than fiction and this is far from the truth.




Writing nonfiction requires careful structuring — especially a memoir. To slap up a haphazard chronology of one’s life never makes for a compelling reading. I started writing a memoir and in the process of writing my memoir, I asked myself severally  ‘why would anyone want to read my memoir, what value does it have to offer?’ Needless to say, I am still writing this memoir, but rethinking my approach because the first attempt was as boring as ever.

You may need to burst your own bubble that you’re a self-taught writing genius oozing with all the talent in the world and that you don’t need to learn a thing or two about writing as a profession.

As long as nobody reads your work – no, not your long-suffering spouse, mother, agreeable siblings and friends – I am sorry to let you know that those everlasting works in progress of yours may never see the light of the day to make it to the top of the bottom of the bestseller lists on Amazon, New York, and wherever  you fancy, once you wake up and decide to share it.

Your attitude of ignorance might be a good one when you’re taking those first steps of venturing into the writing field when the tendency to self-doubt is at its peak. You create your first draft and learn the rules later because there are times when learning the rules first could be inundating and simply creates more doubt. However, learn the rules and the rope, you must.

If your hope is to publish eventually, spending years in the closet will simply not work in your favour. That sets you up for disappointments and possible scamming – yes, it happens.

There are scammers ready to thrive on your delusions.  Do your research before jumping into the marketplace to avoid the harsh realities of the University of writing hard knocks.

 Quick Tips

Google your interest area to find out how many similar books are out there. Read as many as you possibly can and approach yours from a fresh perspective.

If you do hope to publish your work at some point, you have to pay attention to this field of interest that you’re trying to enter. How do they perform in the market? Who are the target readers in this spectrum?

On a final note, don’t be afraid to get your work out there into the public eye. Criticism can only make it better and you could be delightfully surprised.

Let us know if you have published. What’s your experience been like? Do you plan to publish?  You can share insights in the comments and add titles/links of your published work if you have.

I hope you find this article useful. Check here for more writing tips.

 

Overcome Your Writing Fears – Essential Writers Tips

Essential Writer's Tips, Writing, Overcome Writing Fears, Writer

 

Writing Fears

What are your greatest writing fears?

Writing is not for the faint of heart and to build a successful career as a writer is not without its’ fair share of anxieties.

At various points in their pursuit, most writers have experienced writing fears, so this is not a challenge peculiar to you.

I remember when decided I to follow my passion and started writing actively, I had bubbles of anxiety in my stomach for days, I lost several nights of sleep wondering what made me think that I was good enough for anyone to want to spend their time reading my words.

Coupled with that, I enrolled for a creative writing course and as much as I tried not to take the instructors critic to heart, I never looked forward to hearing from her and was literally developing an ulcer from anguish. After much angst, I decided to put my anxiety to an end, to believe in myself and chose to face my fears.

Your fear might be one or even all the following:

  • Fear of failure.

This is one of the most common writing fears that writers nurture in the dark recesses of the mind, creating various excuses to stop from writing that story, book or series that you have, excuses like ‘the bookstores are already so full of books, who would want to read mine?’ Don’t let these doubts and lack of confidence stand in your way.

  • Fear of rejection.

In my honest opinion, I believe that all writers face this fear at some point or the other. Fear of submitting that work and facing the rejection. In this case, my friend, you’ve got to develop a thick hide like the Rhinoceros. Brace your mind that it’s bound to happen but it won’t stop you from pursuing your dream.

  • Fear of poor writing.

You can only get better through practice, making mistakes and learning from them. Refreshing your knowledge of basic writing skills and grammar would help. Also, consider using writing tools that point out those little errors.

  • Fear of criticism.

Writers are sensitive people especially when it comes to their work. Allowing others to critique your work is a nail-biting time. One way to get past this is to choose those who check your work carefully, based on their experience – not for the feel good cause – but knowing that they will offer a constructive feedback. Condition your mind not to take it personally and check the outlined issues. Most times it’s worth it.

  • Fear of obscurity.

Not going after your dreams will not make you visible. What have you got to lose? Since you are down, there’s only one way to go and that is up.

  • Financial concerns

A valid concern for most writers. It’s certainly not easy to leave the thoughts of the bills to pay to chase a bowl of gold coins at the end of the rainbow. So, caught in this many writers struggle to find the time to get their writing done. This is a situation where a thorough work-life balance approach comes in. You’ve got to create the space to chase your dreams. Scheduling will help.

Some are afraid of letting it all out. Worried that emptying their thoughts will only bring castigation. Thus, their writing becomes lackluster because out of fear of getting personal and losing their perceived sense of privacy, they fail to draw on personal experience that can only enhance their writing.

  • Fear of not finding the right words to bring out that great story in you.

There will be days like this whether you are a new writer or an experienced one. Be ready to deal with the writers’ block. 

  • Fear that no one would want to read your publications.

You’ll be surprised. Stop selling that excuse to yourself.

  • Fear that your story is not as original as you thought.

I believe that everything has been written in one form or the other, however, you haven’t written from your own refreshing perspective. Go ahead and own your story.

  • Fear that you are not as talented as you thought.

It’s most likely that you simply have a distorted view of your own writing and potentials. Others think you’ve got it, but in your own mind, you feel you fall short. Learning to believe in yourself is important here.

  • Fear of never becoming published. 

The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that it frees your mind from this inhibition. No hindrances to exploring getting your work out there by self-publishing.

The list of writing fears is endless and the interesting thing is that the thing that is your strength as a writer ‘your imagination’ goes into overdrive in face of these fears and you’ll eagerly fill in the blank spaces of ‘what ifs’ by giving the fear a larger than life attribute.

This ultimately leads to not realizing your aspirations and full potentials as a writer because these fears become a problem when we fail to deal with them.

For example, the fear of rejection prevents many writers from submitting their work and what makes it worse is that the more a writer allows a fear to grow the more you reinforce its place as the captain of your creativity.

Facing Your Fears

Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Your writing life presents you with the endless opportunities to meet your fears and conquer them.

Facing that blank page, sending out that manuscript only to receive a rejection letter, having the courage to bare your soul and being told that it lacks character… are surely part of what a writer’s nightmare is made of, however, when we consciously work with fear, we can actually harness this energy source in ways that will support our writing goals and enhance our writing experience.

Steps to dealing with your writing fears

  • Identify which fears concern you most. Which ones are valid, which fears could become valid and which ones are simply excuses?
  • Acknowledge the fear without putting it in charge.
  • Seek ways to rise above it: Join other writing groups, give yourself the permission to fail. Redefine your own scale of success. Apply daily, positive affirmations to boost your thought.
  • Brainstorm on how to handle your fears in positive ways. For example, instead of telling yourself that it’s okay to get rejected, tell yourself that you’ll research reasons why submissions get rejected and seek solutions to revise your work properly.
  • Focus on process instead of results. Have a written action plan that you can refer to when you start feeling discouraged.
  • Forget perfectionism and be open with your shortcomings.
  • Retrain your poor habits diligently. There are those habits we’ve imbibed over time that simply yield nothing and only serve as blocks in our path.
  • Don’t make things harder than they are. Cease from approaching your writing from a place of fear, it only makes it harder and tiring. When you find yourself all tensed up, seek ways to relax before getting back to your writing.
  • Keep doing it afraid. Repeating your process creates comfort and confidence.
  • Be realistic in your approach. Don’t set impossible goals for yourself. Factor your lifestyle in and use a pragmatic approach.
  • Talk about it. It helps to share your thoughts and fears with those you trust.
  • Quit comparing. Your writing is unique like you are. Consistent comparison with other writers you esteem and trying to copy them hurts you more than it helps you. You can learn from the masters but carve your own path.
  • Research ways to do it better.

Your writing passion and your pursuit for success as a writer are valid and precious. Don’t let any form of insecurity keep you from doing that thing you’ve been called to do. Deal with those fears today and broaden the horizon of your potentials.

Let’s talk in the comments. What are your greatest writing hang-ups?

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