I’m taking some advice from Richard Ridley, (https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/community/resources/blog/2015/05/04/stage-one-of-marketing-a-book-journaling-your-journey) about ways to market your book, but also ways to reflect on the writing process, and I’m going to be keeping an online, totally public, week-by-week Writer’s Confessional I am calling ‘Diary of a Mad Writer’, because you have to be a bit nuts to ever want to be an author. If there ever was a career that’s underpaid and undervalued, being an author (the 90 odd percent of us that aren’t the top sellers) has to be high on the list. (There you go, I’ve just said one of those things I mumble – quite frequently – aloud when I am sat in front of my laptop, or pretty much anywhere, at any time, doing anything).
I have called this prep week: Procrastination Station? or Hit the Ground Running? because I have no idea how my first week of writing the new (not 1, but 2) novels is going to leave the starting gates. Hopefully, like a thoroughbred, I’ll be racing towards my weekly goal, crossing the finish line if not first, then at least in one piece. I’m refreshed after Publication Week (after taking several days to catch up on the Casper Van Dien films I have backing up on Tivo, and shamelessly lounging about on the settee eating ice-creams and drinking hand-frothed cappuccinos). At what point will my energy levels start to flag? and how will I pick myself up and get myself across the final finish line? (With lots of Casper Van Dien films, ice-cream and hand-frothed cappuccinos I expect), and it will all be here for you to witness, and I hope get some inspiration from, even if it’s how NOT to do it.
I have my schedule, jotted on my whiteboard propped up in a convenient place (the kitchen) where I see it every day. Because I’m such an airhead I need to be overly organised, but I find it works. Being an independent author means having no one (but your readers) to be accountable to – no boss, no nagging associates – but this can also make it difficult to be fully motivated. Having my board where I can see it, giving me gentle (and nagging) encouragement means I am more likely to be self-motivated and find my inner Seabiscuit.
Committing to writing a novel isn’t just about committing to the actual act of writing, but making an oath to stick with this story and know however bad it seems, it can be improved in the rewrite/edit. Because our biggest obstacle, before we even begin, is ourselves (at least, it’s my biggest obstacle). Self-doubt, anxiety, perfectionism versus low, low self-esteem. Can I do it? I can’t do it. If I do, do it, it’ll be rubbish. All these horrible little thoughts don’t so much as creep in, but creep out of their not so great hiding places and hinder the process before it has even begun. I have published two full length novels and a novella and still I’m wondering if I can finish a third (and fourth) full length book in the time frame I’ve set myself. I’m prepared to be flexible and I’m prepared to work hard and I’d love to share my experience with you, and hope you will share your experiences with me.