Rediscovering the Joy of Being an Independent Author

My Father has often said that, when you start having nightmares about your job, it’s time to move on. I can’t say I’m having nightmares, exactly, but I’ve certainly begun dreading doing anything remotely connected with being an Independent Author. However, I don’t think it’s time for me to “move on.” It’s time for me to go back to the beginning and rediscover why I became an Indie Author in the first place.

When I began, my first love was crafting entertaining stories. I spent a lot of time on Writing.com reading and contributing short stories, poems and monologues. I enjoyed giving editing tips to the authors there, especially to those in whose works I saw potential. When I sat down to work it was a pleasure, an escape even.

Flash forward to July 14, 2010. Spending 30 minutes to work on my current project, Prayerfully Yours, makes my shoulders slump, my brow pucker and my feet drag. I dutifully set my timer and check it every few minutes, trying to cheer myself on with the mantra “only X number of minutes left, then I can go play.”

What happened?!

I lost sight of the reason I began this journey in the first place. I began listening to all the “advice” out there that said I needed to market the hell out of myself to get anywhere. Marketing isn’t a bad thing. Independent Authors need to do a lot of marketing to get noticed. All of that is true, but the at some point each of us has to answer one question: what is more important, getting noticed or doing what you love?

For me it’s doing what I love most, writing. While I will be doing the Problogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge with the SITS community*, doing what I love most means I won’t be doing a lot of other things. It means spending less time following all those tweets, less time trolling the internet to find the latest self-publishing articles, less time doing anything that takes me away from what I’m meant to do — write.

In order to do less, yet be as effective as I’ve been (perhaps more so), I’ll be following my mentor, Marla Cilley’s (aka FlyLady), advice: “by letting go of your ineffective old habits and establishing simple routines” and “Take your babysteps to recognize when you are stressed out. Find a more fun way of doing the same old thing and reach out for help!”

How about you? Have you forgotten why you began your journey on The Road to Writing?

*The challenge for all us women bloggers begins July 19, so hurry if you want to sign up.

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6 thoughts on “Rediscovering the Joy of Being an Independent Author

  1. Too true, Virginia – it’s easy to spend a lot of time on the business side of writing and miss the essence of being a writer. Alas, this is the new world order, whether you are an independent author of an author published traditionally.

    Regards
    Mel

    • It does seem to be the new world order, but I don’t think it has to be. I believe we each have the option to “follow the crowd” and make ourselves crazy by doing it the same way everyone else is doing, stressing our bodies and minds with the endless (mindless) tasks of marketing, OR we can choose to do things our own way at a much slower pace. It’s not exactly easier because you have to constantly, and consistently, remember it’s not a race even though everyone around you seems to think it is. It’s actually like driving down the freeway, obeying the speed limit, while everyone else flies by. You know you’ll get there eventually. It will just take a bit more time. A good story to remember when you start feeling like you have to do it “like everyone else” is The Tortoise and The Hare: slow and steady wins the race.

  2. There’s no suggestion or implication that every author has to market their book/product the same as everyone else – that’s not advisable, but every author still has to market their book otherwise no one, other than family and friends, will even know about it.

    Regards
    Mel

    • Let me clarify what I meant, in case you misunderstood. I didn’t mean everyone has to do it the same way, as in everyone must advertise via a Facebook Fan Page or through media kits sent to magazines. What I did mean is that the common advice (aka hidden curriculum) is to do everything you’re going to do ASAP rather than on a slower schedule. For example, most bloggers using their blog as a means to market themselves and their products say we should all blog daily. I explain in Blogging the Tortoise Way why this isn’t always a great idea. Regardless of how one market’s their product, one must decide whether it is worth stressing oneself out to do it as fast as possible and for HSPs that can lead to burnout a lot faster than for non-HSPs.

  3. Ms. Ripple,
    I hope, now that winter is upon everyone, that you have rekindled your love of writing and have been working out new ideas and dreams in the written form. Your blog seems very well written and I just wanted to encourage you when I read about you during this low point blog in July. Wishing in the mean time that you have a Happy New Year and Keep Writing!

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