You need to understand. I literally cringed when I wrote the words, ‘Author Chelsie Knight’ on my social media pages.
I mean, how corny, right? What makes ME an author? I’ve never written a book in my life, and here I was, trying to take a stab at a passion of mine... while simultaneously learning how to juggle the new lifestyle of stay-at-home mom of a toddler, while being pregnant with my second, while ensuring I spent an adequate amount of time pouring love and affirmations into my two canines, whom, let’s be honest, are my other two kids.
There is no way I’m going to finish this.”
“Everyone is going to laugh at me behind my back.”
“How do I even know if what I wrote is good?”
“I’m going to fail at this like I’ve failed at other things in life.”
STOP! Just stop.
Focus on the task in front of you and FORGET the rest.
Here are some tips to help you fight the negative thoughts, pressured timelines, and overwhelming worry about whether or not you can do this because here’s a little secret.
1.) IF YOU WRITE, YOU ARE TECHNICALLY A WRITER.
You don’t need to be a best-selling author to be considered a writer. The action of writing itself makes you a writer. That’s like saying that you can’t consider yourself a runner until you completed the Boston marathon. It’s just silly. Do you write when you can? Great. Do you have goals to publish something worth reading eventually? Awesome. You’re a writer. It’s as simple as that. Don’t overthink it.
2.) YOUR WRITING MAY SUCK AT FIRST.
Look, your first book may end up being a best seller in some random category, and hey, maybe you’ll become famous from it and retire at the age of 30...
For the rest of us, it takes a lot of practice, experience, and time to become great writers. This may mean that your first, second, and yes, maybe third books will all SUCK. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the only way to get better at something is to keep at it and learn things as you go.
3.) DROP THE PERFECTIONISM.
One of the biggest reasons why writers end up throwing in the towel is because they want their end result to be absolutely perfect. They can’t even finish the first draft of their work because they are still editing their introductory paragraph.
When you are reading your own work, you will always find something to change, reword, take out, put back in, etc. I drove myself NUTS reading and rereading my first book, and eventually had to force myself to stop because I realized that I would never be perfectly content with it.
Sometimes the best way to combat this perfectionistic mindset is to force yourself to write while ignoring the natural urge to go back and edit what you just wrote. Don’t keep going back because you will never complete your project. I promise that you can do all the editing you want once your first draft is completed. Then, yes, edit. But, again, don’t overdo it. Edit, and complete your second draft. Then edit. Work on your third draft. Edit. See the pattern here?
4.) HIRE IT OUT.
I hated the idea of spending money on a project when I was not sure if it would be “successful” or provide me a “financial” return. I wanted to write my first book all on my own, so that, if I failed, no harm, no foul. This proved to be an unhealthy and unhelpful mindset because there are a lot of things I didn’t know how to do, and I just didn’t have time to learn how to do them.
Here are a few things that I hired out:
* Graphic Designer - Trust me, I tried to “learn” this skill on my own, and let me tell you, THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE GO TO SCHOOL FOR THIS. Worth every penny...
* Professional Editor - Sure, you can have your friends and family read your work and give you their two cents, but you’re going to want an actual professional to look over your writing. Not only will they be more honest with you, but they have EXPERIENCE IN THIS AREA! They’ve done this before, and they most likely will know what works and what doesn’t. My book would have been heinous without an editor looking at it. Seriously.
* Project Manager - I worked with a local publishing company to help me navigate the steps I needed to take to not only create a book but actually make it so that people can buy it. You can learn how to do all of this stuff on your own if you have the time, but I personally did not. It also helped to have a team of people to talk to and bounce ideas off of throughout the writing and publishing process. You don’t feel as isolated.
5.) SET DEADLINES
Deadlines are VITAL to meeting your milestones and eventually finishing your writing project. Even if you are working on your own, you need to create them and be as strict with them as you would if you were working for someone else.
Break down the steps that you need to take to finish your writing project, and be realistic with how long you think they will take you.
My personal deadline was the due date of my second child because I knew that I would NOT have spare time to write once I was taking care of a toddler and newborn. I marked the date, moved backward, and figured out how much time I had to meet my writing goal. Can this be a bit stressful? Yes. Did it make minor setbacks feel like the biggest deal in the world? Yes. BUT, it helped me figure out what I needed to get completed, at what time, and make adjustments as needed in my writing schedule.
*Finishing your writing project is one of THE BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD! I promise you, every small step, every writing session, every minute of dedication to your goal is worth it, and it will get you closer and closer to that finish line