People always ask me how I go about publishing my books, and I feel I’ve covered that topic pretty well already in these articles, but the thing they really want to know is: how do you find the time, how do you really get things done?
People say, “I could never write a book”. Those people never will. It’s not because they physically can’t, or they’re not creative enough, or “smart” enough. It’s because they’re already setting themselves up to fail. If you think you can’t do it then you can’t.
One of my favourite authors is Neil Gaiman. One of my favourite things he’s said is:
“This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman
You have to want it. You have to need it. You need to have a force driving you to do whatever it takes to get the book out there, whether that be traditional publishing, Indie Publishing, or printing off a hundred copies and handing them to readers for free.
But desire alone is not enough to get your dream off the ground, regardless of how you decide to publish. You have to actually do the work. You have to sit in front of the computer, the typewriter, the pad of blank paper and actually write. You have to work out a marketing strategy. You have to build an online presence and utilise social media platforms. You have to blog or vlog and create great free content for your readers. I’m not the first person to have ever said this. I will not be the last. It covers whatever your dream is, not just writing.
The number one enemy to successful publishing? Procrastination.
The enemy is “just one episode of Shadow Hunters on Netflix”.
The enemy is “I’ll just check my emails first”.
The enemy is “Oh my best friend messaged me on Facebook. I wonder what they want.”
And the enemy is harsh. I’ve not hidden the fact that I have injuries to my back and wrist that affect my physical ability to sit at a computer (or pick up a pen and notebook) and write. I also have an Anxiety disorder and Depression and on bad days it’s all I can do to get out of bed and put that first episode of Shadow Hunters or Buffy or Lucifer on. But it’s still procrastination, and if those injuries and illnesses last more than a day it gets harder and harder to get back on track.
Procrastination and interruptions can quickly throw you off course, and you can’t always control those interruptions. But you need to be on guard against procrastination because that you can control. You can find ways to work around your obstacles. You fight your way through. Because if you don’t do the work it doesn’t get done. The only thing you can control is your actions. Only you can write your book. You could get a ghost writer, but I feel like that’s putting your name on someone else’s work. There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily. A lot of writers make their money by ghost writing other people’s books. But this article is directed at writers who want to write their own book.
Fear holds people back. Fear of success. Fear that someone else will write something similar to you, or already has that you don’t know about, and you could get sued. Fears of all the things that could go wrong. Fears of doing your taxes wrong. Fear of marketing (cause let’s face it marketing is not an attractive side to Indie Publishing). Fear whispers in our ears and says “Put it off for later”. It says one more episode can’t hurt, until suddenly Netflix is asking if you’re still watching.
Procrastination is a mental barrier, an obstacle that you have to look in the eye and say “F*** off I’m busy”. You won’t always win the fight, but you have to keep fighting it until you win. Like going to the gym, you have to train yourself until you can master it.
I’m procrastinating right now. I’m writing this article when I should be rewriting the work I lost when my computer crashed. Rewriting 12k words (plus the 10k I should have written while my computer was down) of the novel I’m working on, and half the book of The Lady of Zion short stories is a daunting task. One that, if I’m honest, I resent having to do. But I couldn’t control my operating system forcing an update and corrupting my hard drive. I couldn’t control my IT professional not being able to recover my lost data (sometimes he can). It’s just one of those shit things that happens.
So now I’m going to take my own advice and haul ass into my short stories to try and catch up.
Because procrastination is the enemy to success.
And I really want to succeed.