Jan 15, 2015

Lessons learned in 2014

I've been thinking a lot lately (hehe, when do I not?) about the things I'd learned in 2014 and throughout the four years I've been a published author. Now, I've learned a lot. Some of those things are completely random like writing tricks, word usage, editing, etc, etc, but what I'm talking about are the bigger things.

What's bigger than deleting all the filter words from your manuscript? Life stuff, that's what. Especially if they can be used while writing.

I'm usually quite talkative on social media. If you haven't yet, check out my Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/AzaleaMoone, where I'll ramble on about plot ideas, writing, and totally random stuff. But otherwise, I'm a pretty private person. One thing I didn't tell anyone, except in private forums of course, was that 2014 was the year I went through a(nother) pretty big depression/anxiety kick.

It was a year of learning, in both real life and my writing life. There were a lot of things I had to learn to put aside and let go, this included parts of my writing. It took almost six months for me to get out of "la-la-land" -- this is what I called it -- and to start enjoying writing again. But I was still learning. I needed to be strong. And I'll always be learning. It's the best thing about this hobby/career that I love.

So what have I learned in 2014?

1. Self-publishing is way too easy: And it's the "easy way out". It requires almost no promotion, unless your willing to take the time, and I wasn't willing last year. But it's still easy to just edit, format, and slap it on Amazon. No sending to review sites, no need to attend FB parties or blog hops. Nothing. Just set it and forget it.

And unless you want to set your career down and forget it, most likely, it won't get you anywhere if you're not willing to do the work of marketing. Writing is fun. It's supposed to be. Promotion is fun if you make it. But I admit, I'm guilty of doing nothing when it comes to promoting new releases last year. Part of it was lack of motivation, part of it was just not knowing what to do.

This year, my goal is to start submitting to publishers again. And doing the work I need to, aka marketing.

2. Be Mindful: or "take things one at a time". This is something I've tried to strive for these last four years and I just gotta keep working on it. It means if you're writing, just write. If you're editing, just edit. If your ready to submit, submit it. Don't think about submitting when you're still writing. And don't worry about edits when it's still out on submission.

This one is tough, because what if you're thinking of publisher X for the story, but you don't know if said publisher will be the best spot? This is my problem. I constantly go back and forth between deciding on which publishers to send to when I'm not even done writing the damn story!

So yes, stay mindful. If your doing the dishes, do the the dishes, don't think about cooking dinner at the same time. FYI: I started practicing mindful meditation and DBT skills last year. Even though I constantly have to remind myself to stay mindful, it's a great thing for anyone to have -- a moment to yourself to just breathe.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff: this is another one I have to constantly strive for, and it goes along with "Be mindful". But basically it means don't worry about what readers are going to think. I'm writing for myself at this moment. Don't worry about the editing process, don't worry about sales, don't worry about this, that, and the other shit you cannot control.

Don't worry about the drama happening over there in the community. Don't worry if a reviewer only gave you three stars.

Don't worry about all these damn filter words in your manuscript, right now. That's what editing is for.

4. My skin is not as thick as I'd like it: and it probably never will be. At least it's toughened up since my first book. *smiles* But it wavers at times, and especially during that time of month and that's okay.

5. Writing is not the most important thing: I used to want to write A LOT of books. Why? It meant more fans and sales. I didn't necessarily write the things I wanted to, though, and for that, I paid. Now you ask, but aren't you happy with the books you've written so far?

Yes and no.The one's I'm not happy with are gone (see previous post about books no longer in the market).

But also, I needed to learn that life is the most important thing in life. I have a family, a house, a cat, everything else that needed attention. And I think I'd paid too much attention to my "fantasy lands" and not enough on myself.

It was a rough year in 2014, but then again, it was the most beautiful year. I adored autumn in Nebraska. I had paid mindful attention to the gorgeous fall leaves and comfortable temperatures, all while attending to real life. And I also found time to attend to my creative side as well, without too much avoidance.

I had found a way to enjoy everything without getting too overwhelmed.

I had done this by focusing on one thing at a time and by staying positive.

2015 is set to be a great year.

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