Passion Over Everything
I recently got Cara Alwill Leyba's Style Your Mind Workbook, which is a workbook full of thought provoking questions for people who want to shift their mindsets and ultimately live a more authentic and happy life. I love Cara's work in general and, if you're just starting out in your writing/publishing career or stuck and want to redirect and clarify your life, I highly recommend this workbook and her podcast which is also called Style Your Mind.
But one of the first exercises in this workbook involves examining a time in which you felt most successful. My answer was immediately clear to me: I felt most successful when I was writing Bewilderments of the Eyes. And it was because I was aware of what I wanted and I was taking action to achieve it.
When I first started writing Bewilderments, I had no idea whether or not anyone else would read it. I wasn't even always 100% sure that I would be able to finish it. But I HAD to write it. I spent every second I could locked away, tucked back in some Starbucks, only stopping when I was kicked out or losing the battle with my eyelids. When I wasn't writing, I was thinking about writing; turning scenes I had already written over in my head, examining where my story was going, mentally mapping out future scenes, scratching down ideas on napkins.
Then, when I miraculously did finish the novel, I was so proud of what I had done and I believed in my story so much that I felt that I had no choice but to share it. I had to get it into readers' hands. So I dove right into querying, and then self publishing. Again, every minute of my day was somehow devoted to the cause.
Just as with anything, writing is not always fun. It is a ton of work and it is all consuming. It is mentally and emotionally draining at times, and incredibly sluggish and frustrating at other times. Publishing is the same way. I experienced so many obstacles and set backs, and I still do. It is a long, long road often riddled with rejection. Ask any writer-they'll tell you the same thing. But we do it because we love it. Because we can't not share our words and our stories.
To succeed, you need to be obsessed with what you do. It needs to light you up from the inside. You need to examine your "why's". Why are you writing? Why are you self publishing? Unless the answer is derived from passion, it's going to be an arduous ride.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What does writing mean to me?
- What does my current WIP (work in progress) mean to me?
- What does my dream writing career look like?
- Why do I want to self publish?
- Who so I want to read my work, and why?
- In what ways do I think my work can benefit readers?
- What does it mean to be a successful writer? What does success as a writer look like to me?
There are no right answers to these questions, they're just key points to think about as you dive into your writing and publishing journey. I experience doubt in this industry all the time, but when I think about why I put myself through the stressful parts and power through rejections and bad reviews, I reassure myself that it is because I feel called to write. It's what I love, and nothing worthwhile comes easy!
So, whether you're just starting out or have been doing this for a long time and need to take this blog post as an opportunity to reflect and remind yourself of your passion, please do take a second to consider your "whys". It's always a good idea to put yourself back into a place of appreciation- it makes the gritty parts a little easier!
Until next time,