Being a writer is tough. My journey to write and publish books began nearly four years ago, and when I started, my biggest concern was figuring out how to turn my ideas into a story long enough to be considered ‘a book’. I spent hour after hour reading, writing, editing and reviewing works by other people, having my own works critiqued and all of it was rewarding but exhausting. But I loved to write and my dream of publishing kept me going.
Speed ahead to today. I’ve three books written, have three others in progress and plenty of short stories in my portfolio. I’ve been busy. But that’s not all. Everyone knows that writing a book is only the beginning. An author must have a platform, must be integrated in social media to connect with readers and others in the market. You have to have a business plan, must devote hours to this thing that might have started out as a hobby but has now become a realizable Dream. This is the hard part. It’s the stuff that sucks your energy dry, takes away from the time needed to write, and in some cases, even drains away some of the excitement of even being a writer.
So this is where I’ve been these last few weeks. When The Purple Morrow came out, the days of being an ‘aspiring author’ ended and I became a ‘published author’. Money is now involved because I have copies of my book to sell. I have to get out into the community and connect with local merchants, you know, build a local reputation for myself. This is a career I’m trying to build, after all, one that will hopefully thrive online as well as in the ‘real world.’ It’s great and fun, yet it’s also daunting.
So, this morning I woke up in a panic. I’d been off my marketing/promotional game for the last few weeks as I suddenly didn’t know what my game plan was anymore. I keep reading articles about what writers SHOULD be doing, but there’s so much to actually do I just blocked it all out because it was overwhelming. But when I got up this morning I had the sense that it was time to Act. So I did. I started by emailing some contacts I’d been procrastinating.
That led me on to something else. There was a certain book store I’d been trying to get a hold of but hadn’t been able to find the number to. Last week, my mother left me an excited message: she’d been to the bookstore and told the owner about my book and he was interested in selling it on consignment. Being a little shy to make a cold call, I put it off. A few days later I emailed him but got no answer, probably because of Christmas. So this morning, I bucked up and called. What an amazing surprise! This wonderful, cheerful woman named Dana answered (my frazzled nerves immediately dissipated) and guess what? At that exact moment, she’d just opened my email to read! 30 minutes later, I’d dressed, packed up the kids and was driving 40 minutes to the Dorval Christian Book Depot.
Now, why’s this important? Talking with her and seeing how excited she was about the book reignited my own excitement about what I was doing and why I did it. It reminded me of the anticipation of holding a brand new book in my hand and not being able to wait to dig into it. Then my kids got into it.
“Mom, in your next book, can you write about a lizard?” asked my 7 year-old.
I smiled and said, “Baby, the last story you helped me with had a dragon. That’s sorta like a lizard.”
But the joy I saw in my kids’ eyes and smiles touched me. They were proud to talk to Dana about my books and stories, so much so that they wanted to help with the upcoming ones. On the way home, my 9 year-old started making up a story (for me) about a dragon and before I knew it, he was up to chapter 5! It was a great story filled with knights and volcanoes and a kind old dragon with a pile of gold. I just smiled to myself as I drove and realized that this was my true writing life. Writing is more than following a business plan, or trying to find the best marketing strategies, or getting frustrated about not being able to find inspiration for a project. It’s the impact my stories have on other people, the positive feedback I get from a reader, the excitement I hear in a person’s voice when they ask about the sequel. It’s the imagination triggered in my kids when they are given the confidence to dream because of what I have chosen to do. Writing really can touch people’s lives.
Being a writer is many things. Today, I had a pleasant reminder of just why I do it and because of that, I feel encouraged and strengthened to get back on that horse and to keep on keeping on. I hope you are encouraged too. 🙂
Thanks for reading!