Nine Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself A Year Ago

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It’s been quite a ride the last twelve months. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would self-publish a book about mermaids, I probably would have just laughed. Now here I am with stacks of discarded drafts that I let the kids use for scratch paper. Not to mention, crazy hair and fuzzy socks because who wants to look human when it cuts into the few hours in the morning you find to write?

Around the same time as I started to have the idea for Merminia, I was running into serious health problems. In a very short period I lost physical abilities I had always taken for granted. From near constant vertigo and embarrassing tremors to loss of coordination and problems with my eyesight—I had no outlet for my emotions. In fact, I was angry. Angry I was losing the ability to walk well or keep up with my kids.

I finally had to realize that there was not a lot I could do about it. Being the stubborn and independent knucklehead that I am, I turned to this story idea floating around in my brain. Quite honestly, this little oceanic world and its characters became my escape. Most of all, creating Merminia gave me a sense of control during a time when I felt pretty powerless.

So as I dive into the new draft I am working on, I am pausing to reflect on what it is I have learned this last year. I am positive I have much more to learn and plenty more mistakes to make, but I think it’s important to make note of the things that I have learned.

1) After staring at the computer all day, take breaks. Your brain works better, and you will see a lot of your own errors if you step back sometimes.

2) Be grateful for other authors and bloggers who go out of their way to give you advice or support. Recognize that other writers are bearing their souls and probably not making a lot of money doing it. Be a cheerleader for them as well.

3) When you read that negative review, take a deep breath and let it go. Not everyone likes the same music, TV, or books. If you can find a way to improve from the criticism you will be better for it. Appreciate every reader who takes the time to read your book, whether they end up liking it or not. There are lots of books out there. They did not have to spend their money or time on yours.

4) Read. Read. Read.

5) Believe in yourself. Nobody is going to push you to keep trying. Want it enough that you are not deterred by the setbacks. If you put in the work, you are certainly not going to go backward.

6) Know when to come out of your bubble. Stop to do the laundry, hug your kids, comb your hair, and interact with real people.

7) Forums can be a place of encouragement as well as a place for anonymous people to say just about anything. Hold on to constructive criticism. Ignore anything that is spiteful. Refuse to take it personally or give it weight.

8) Coffee and music will be your best friends during the writing process—and the patient people who are willing to read and edit your drafts that aren’t quite there yet.

9)  Anyone who self-publishes a book can tell you that most likely it will be a labor of love. There is not a huge payday for most indie authors. You will write, edit, edit, edit, edit, and then promote because you believe in your little story. If nothing else comes of it, have no regrets.Take some pride in the fact that you were brave enough to put yourself out there. At the end of the day, your heart sits bound in pages on a shelf.

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3 Comments on "Nine Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself A Year Ago"

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I love this post! It was very inspiring and I found myself nodding to a lot of your advice. I struggle with #6. Balance is NOT my strong point! Thanks for this post and I do hope your health is better…

Great list. Being able to take a step back and see the whole picture of ones life, from a perspective of what things to concentrate on in order have a more fulfilling existence, well – that’s just awesome.
The world would be a much better place if more people followed suit.

Well said–or I should say written– as is Mermenia. I admire you & your honesty. I’m so very proud of you & look forward to your next book!

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