Two weeks ago, I kicked off a new series for Self Publishing Advisor geared toward addressing a single and seemingly simple question:
What’s your goal for 2016?
Many of you probably have a few goals already lined up, consciously or unconsciously. I know I do. But you might also be of a similar strain to mine in that many of your goals, historically, have been doomed by a perfect storm of ambition, short-sightedness, and limitations of time, energy, and other resources. When it comes to your books, however, failure is not an option. Your book needs to be written, and your book needs to be read! So how do we make this happen? Over the last two weeks, I’ve covered the first seven steps to turning your New Year’s literary resolutions into reality:
- Set goals.
- Facilitate goals.
- Make writing a priority, and
- Read, read, read.
- Master at least the basics of social media.
- Research deeply, and
- Connect with other authors.
Today, I’d like to look at the next four steps:
- Embrace a good critique.
- Learn to love rewrites.
- Try something new, and
- Stop comparing your achievements with others.
Let’s take a closer look at these points!
What does it mean to “embrace” a good critique? We all want to improve our craft but find it difficult to be objective about our work without fixating on the flaws, large and small, that we as authors are bound to spot. You may be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t obsess over these cracks in the pavement, but if you are, I can’t begin to recommend joining a critique group highly enough. (Check out my comments last week about using social media to find your fellow writers.) Not only is constructive criticism a writer’s best friend, but it’s the bedrock foundation of the rewrite!
And what’s this I’m hearing about rewrites? On the scale of editing to revising to rewriting, editing involves a great deal of “tweaking” but rewriting involves the most intensive kind of substantial alterations. Many people who self-identify as “pantsers”––authors who write the first draft quickly and without a lot of research or reference to an outline and so on––are the most in need of rewrites … but that doesn’t mean that a careful planner and strategic author can’t benefit from the freedom that only radical changes can offer! No matter what kind of author you are, you must make rewrites, edits, and revisions a normal part of your writing process. It helps to set your work aside for a few weeks before tackling revisions, but trust me … it’s worth doing.
So I guess it’s time to try something new. Are you feeling uninspired by the space opera novel you’re working on? How about that Western or that crime novella? If you find yourself facing the dreaded Writer’s Block and your love for writing endangered by boredom or frustration with how things are turning out with your current project, it’s time to mix things up and experiment with writing in other genres. Doing so may reignite your passion for that romance novel or that book of poems … and stretching your creative wings is never a waste of time!
And lastly (for this week), it’s time to stop comparing your achievements with the achievements of others. Every writer wants to be a published author, but each author’s journey is unique. You must concentrate on your own goals, and your own personal definition of “success,” and remember what Teddy Roosevelt once said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Only once we lay aside our insecurities and our fear of failure can we truly thrive as authors, rediscovering day after day what it is that drives us to do what we do––write!
Always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|