Monday Motivation - Battling the pre-release angst
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you *think* about it. ~Mary Engelbreit
I know of writers who are paralyzed while writing, afraid of what others will think of their work. I'm usually able to get past that fear by turning up the music, turning off the noise of the internet, and letting myself get lost in the world of my characters. I've come to accept I'm not as good of a writer as I'd like to be. But I do my best. That's all I can do. Some people will like my writing and some won't. And that's okay. My job isn't to write a book *everyone* will love. My job is to write a book to the best of my abilities in an only a way I could tell it. I'm not saying it's always easy. Hell no. But I seem to be able to push through the fear, most of the time, and do what I need to do. In THE BREAKOUT NOVELIST, Donald Maass says, "Having something to say, or something you wish us to experience, is what gives your novel force. Identify it. Make it loud. Do not be afraid of what's burning in your heart. When it comes through on the page, you will be a true storyteller."
I love that. "Do not be afraid of what's burning in your heart." Mmmmm... I will have to play that line on repeat when I eventually dive into revisions on my latest YA.
For me, the fear and worries come along after the writing is done. Long done. Usually, when the book is about to hit the shelves, which is sort of ridiculous, because at that point, there isn't anything I can do.
I'm trying hard to battle those fears and worries as the release date of THE DAY BEFORE draws near. How?
1) By limiting my time on social network sites. About now, twitter starts to make me crazy. Every tweet about a fantastic book trailer reminds me that I don't have one and makes me anxious that I should. Every tweet about a book released in June reminds me there are lots of good books coming out in June and makes me wonder how mine will ever get noticed. Every tweet about a starred review makes my heart long a little more for one of my own. I could go on and on. When social networking starts to hurt me more than it helps me, it's time to let it go and not feel bad about it.
2) By focusing on the good stuff, and saying thanks for them. Thank you for another book published. Thank you for my loyal readers (whether there are 4 or 4,444) who are excited about another book from me. Thank you for the opportunity to spend my days writing, and making an income off that work. Thank you, always, thank you.
3) By reminding myself of what I have accomplished instead of always thinking about what others have accomplished that I haven't. Easy to say. Harder to do.
4) By doing things that feed my soul - exercise, nature walks, movies, spending time with loved ones, and yes, writing. It seems some authors deal with the angst by being on-line more. Tweeting more, blogging more, giving stuff away, etc. etc. I don't find that works well for me. But you know, that's me.
5) By reminding myself that my worth as a human being is not tied up in how well my book sells. If my book doesn't sell well, it doesn't mean I am a bad person or even a terrible writer. There are too many factors at play for poor sales to really mean any ONE thing.
6) By celebrating the success of others. It is REALLY important to be happy for the success of other authors. I want to put that positive energy out there. It's good for everyone, me included.
7) By finding ways to help other people. I find when I'm stuck inside my head too long, the best thing I can do is look for an opportunity to do some good in the world. There are so many people with far bigger problems than I have, and I should be spending time trying to help some of those people.
8) And finally, by reading this quote, from author Sara Zarr, over and over and over again:
"A book is a wonderful, miraculous thing, but in some sense, it's also just a book." Anything you would add to the list?