Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writing 101: Being Brave

There is something essential in writing that lots of indie authors simply don't have, and it forces them to take a huge leap of faith every time they put another book out there. Without a literary agent or a publishing house, indie authors lack the one thing they really and truly desire: validation. All writers are secretly afraid that they're no good. When you choose the path of going it alone, that fear walks with you.

Being brave is the ingredient that all indies have to have. I know, because I've been completely cowardly for many, many weeks now. And as my Amazon author page will prove, I haven't published anything all year long.

Did You Hear That?

I wrote, recently, about the way I've been obsessing over my latest book. I've had all sorts of reasons for not finishing it. First, I was moving. That's hectic, that's an adjustment, so I didn't really get any work done for months. Next, I was swamped with work. Somebody's got to pay for the new house, after all. Then there were some health problems, and stuff I needed to bake, and that movie I love came to Netflix...

Pretty soon, the excuses became weaker and weaker. Time continued to march by, and I would add another paragraph or get another page edited here and there. And honestly, I'm still finding ways to drag my feet. I was awake at 3am just a few nights ago, re-writing a scene I've re-written about 6 times already, fully a week after I declared that I was finished with my final edit. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I realized, at last, that my problem isn't with that one scene. My new book is outside my usual subgenre, and it's got me sweating bullets. I've been finding reasons to drag it out and excuses for putting it off. I've been re-thinking what I've already written and re-reading so much I'm having dreams about the story. And it's because I'm afraid.

Every author has to be brave, but the indie author has to be even braver. Self-published authors don't have literary experts or even business professionals combing over their pages and picking apart their plots. Indie authors essentially stand alone, and that's a really cold place to be even if you aren't trying something new. It takes bravery to publish. And if you can't find it, focus on this: the alternative is that no one will read your words at all.

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