Sorry, was waiting for the promo post, which is delayed, and might be tomorrow, and though I could swear I got sent a vignette post, my whole hotmail is in a state of implosion, so it’s possible it got eaten.
There is a motivational post (not bad) for writers going around by someone who is not ah… a friend of my blog or my friends.
And it occurred to me there are skills to making it as a freelance writer that apply to other endeavors and people as well, and it occurred to me that, willing or not, a lot of us are going to be going it on our own in the next year, either as a main pursuit or as a way to supplement income from jobs that haven’t had a real raise in a decade. Apparently summer of recovery isn’t yet this year, and as the big enterprises shed, we must sink or swim on our own. Fortunately one way or another we’re a resourceful lot. I have writing, of course, but some of the things you guys get up to are truly creative. And some are just getting by, like, say, driving Uber.
Some of this has a built in stimulus and deadline. I mean, even the indie writers I know have deadlines they give themselves, and this bad habit of a roof over head and eating every day should be stimulus enough.
It SHOULD be.
But particularly in creative endeavors, I often find when I need it most is when less gets done, because I close up in panic.
Sometimes you need words and maxims to get you through, and these are mine. Change them to make sense for your own endeavors, when those are not writing.
1- Writers write. Dan first launched me in my writing career with this one “simple rule”. “Writers write everyday.” I’ve failed on this more times than I can tell, but the fact I TRY is what has kept my career going, even when all hope is gone. It usually takes being sick, tired, and dealing with a crisis to not “bank” at least 500 words a day. Writers write. Try to find at least an hour and write on the current work, or a vignette or a post. Even if it does nothing else, it’s practice.
2- You don’t know what sucks. No, seriously. Half the time what I think sucks will read brilliant two months or two years later. You can’t judge your own work. You’re too far inside it. And if you have any mood disorder (hi, I’m Sarah Hoyt, and I’m a depressive), you will be even less able to judge your work. Right now I’m in a place where everything I write reads like boiled cabbage. Reaction from other people indicates this is not true. So shut up and write. You don’t know if it sucks. So, edit three times, for coherency typos, and whatever else makes you happy. Then let it go. It sucks? Says you. Others might love it.
3- You don’t know what will sell. Always true, but particularly with indie. EVERY TIME I talk to a person who made it in indie I get back the same “I have no idea why that book hit.” Or “that book was a toss off. I have no idea why it sold big” or… You get the point. Write it. do the best you can with it, and put it out. You never know what will sell. If it embarrasses you mortally, put it out under a pen name. Beware of names like Iman I Diot. Miss Diot could be a bestseller, and do you want to answer to that the rest of your life. Part of this is stop editing. Chances are you can’t make it better, and you might be making it worse.
4- Don’t get stuck in one mode of doing business. Things are shifting faster than you can imagine. Keep your mind open and your eyes ditto. Try new ways of doing business as they come along, they might be your livelihood in a few years.
5- Don’t be afraid to try new things. I was for years. I was afraid I simply was not GOOD enough. Ask yourself “Good enough for what?” Who determines, other than the writers? Most of the historical books I read from KU have HUNDREDS of great reviews and MAJOR errors (not even little ones. I mean, things like assuming ancient Rome worked like Victorian England. Or confusing Elizabethan England and the Regency.) Do the best you can, but dare try new things. Like above, don’t be afraid of new ways of doing business, writing new things, trying new genres. Just keep going. if you want to do it? Try it. Failing is guaranteed if you never try. Or as the poster over my desk says “If you must walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.”
6- Don’t let failure daunt you. In the rapidly shifting business/technology/political climate we face the next several years, failure is guaranteed. BUT failure is never failure till it’s final. Until the referee counts ten over your prone body, without your getting up and trying again, you haven’t failed. It’s merely a temporary setback. Yes, it’s easy to lose heart, and I do, which is why I have to remind myself that it’s not over till the fat lady sings, and frankly my singing has been banned by the Geneva convention as a crime against humanity, so I ain’t singing. Everyone who achieved anything failed a lot more than everyone who didn’t. Which brings me to the other Maxim over my computer “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom”- George S. Patton. You hit bottom? Great, let me congratulate you. You’re about to BOUNCE!