If you've ready my other blog entries (of which there aren't many), you'll know that I'm an Indie Author working hard to achieve success by writing words! If you're reading this blog, you're either one of the people who also reads my fiction or an Indie Author (published or aspiring) like me! Whoever you are, I'm writing this blog for you, to take you on the adventure with me as I explore the vast landscape of the publishing world, learn marketing techniques and write myself into an early grave.
So, on that note, I'm going to talk a little bit about something I learned today. By the way, going on a tangent, the guys at the Self Publishing Podcast are fantastic. Any struggling Indie Author should listen to them. They're like the prophets of Indie Publishing!
Okay, get on with it Kat. So, what did I learn today? Well, I learned the two most important words in the life of an Indie Author: it's okay. Such simple words, right? But they're so packed with meaning and completely relevant to my current position as a brand new Indie Author.
It's okay to write a lot only to throw it away later.
It's okay to suck on the first draft.
It's okay to write something you think has already been written before by someone else.
I don't put a single word to paper without having an outline of what I'm going to write. I'm the complete polar opposite of a "pantser". Why? Because my system works for me. I know a bunch of pantsers whose system works for them, but if I want the kind of speed I've managed to pick up over the last few weeks, the key for me was to have an outline (even if it's only a small paragraph to outline a scene I'm about to write). So even if my rough draft ends up being total bull and I have to cut 30, 50 or even 70% of it, at least I've done the writing and I'm left with a solid 30% of good (or at least better) prose.
And if you think someone's already used your idea in one of their books, they probably already have. Remember, though, it's about your unique take on something and your own unique voice. How many people have written about Vampires? And yet Vampire novels aren't going out of style. Why? Because every book is in its own way unique. So don't mull over an idea until it's "unique" enough to write. Write the thing in your own voice with confidence that no one has done it quite like you have - because no one else is you.
Indies put a lot of pressure on themselves and often find that they're their own worst enemies. Doubt creeps in, routines are hard to stick to, deadlines easily broken. As an Indie I have to fence off my worst habits, make sure I write (and read) a little bit every day, and stick to my deadlines. When I first started, I used to write 2,000 words on a good day. Once I told myself "it's okay", though, I'm blitzing through 7,000 or even 8,000 words every day and I'm not putting in any extra hours.
Before anyone gets me all wrong, this is not a boast, it's just a number I'm sharing with you to prove that if you follow the tenets of "it's okay" you will improve as a writer. You'll produce more words every time you sit down to write, and because you write so quickly you'll out-run your inner censor meaning that you'll be writing in your most natural voice.
I can't recommend the Self Publishing Podcast guys enough, honestly. I owe most of my future success to what I've learned from them. And yeah, sure, maybe I'm just regurgitating what I've learned, but I need to spread the word. There are other people out there like me. Maybe you're one of them. And you need to know this stuff! I didn't write this blog for me, I wrote it for you - and I honestly hope it helps you or inspires you in some way.
So, the takeaway value here is this. It's okay. If you're an Indie, or you want to go traditional, remember to let yourself suck. Write your damned heart out, especially on the days when you can't write, and you'll get there.
Thanks for reading! Are you an Indie Author? Post about your struggles in the comments below. We're all family here.
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