These are some of things I have been reliably informed, are essential if we want to make a success of our writing. In retrospect, there is possibly too much information out there, and all of it supposedly the right way to write, that it can be downright confusing. At least I have found it to be so.
And to think, all this time I assumed it was a simple as picking up a pen!
1. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ book.
This came as quite a surprise to me, because I’m sure I have read quite a few that are, at least in my opinion. But according to some of these experts, I shouldn’t be striving to produce the perfect book. (I shouldn’t?)
All this time I have been trying to write well, constantly comparing my feeble efforts with that of my idols, something I have been told in the past was a good idea.
But what I should be doing, apparently, is simply the best I can. (now who would have thought of that?)
2. That no matter what you do, it takes time.
I have discovered that writing is all about improvement.
Every time you pick up a pen or switch on your computer you will have improved since the last time you did. That’s how the brain is supposed to work when we let it, you know, practice makes perfect?
The trick is not to argue with it, which is something I still do sometimes. It has been hard to trust in something, which let’s face it, has let me down big time in the past; but by using what I have learnt, I think I may have found the right work ethic with my writing. And the experts were right; it did take an awfully long time.
3. How do you make readers care?
This one still stumps me, either they will care or they won’t, how can you make them? And if you do find a way to do it, how is it real? Then I read that you should try to treat writing like any other job. One that doesn’t make you feel good every day. One that frustrates the hell out of you, but one you have to commit to, for better or worse.
That makes it sound like a marriage, doesn’t it? But maybe it is a partnership of sorts. In a marriage, you usually get out what you put in; in other words, if you care, so will your partner, so I do get their point.
But trying to get anyone to care has never come easily to me. In my youth I was convinced that I was unlovable; indeed, I have several failed relationships behind me, nothing to be proud of, ever.
Now I am older, I find I can communicate better, so that might be the answer. Personally, I think becoming a silver surfer was the solution. Through the Internet, I have met so many interesting and lovely people all over the world, far more than you could meet in a lifetime without a PC.
The Internet also removes the awkward shyness that most people have, meeting people for the first time, for which I will be eternally grateful.
4. How to make friends and influence people.
I try to make our posts interesting; although I am still not sure I’m doing the whole blog thing properly. Being self-taught can be a problem, I think. You can never be sure if you have absorbed all the information needed, or missed a valuable point that would make all the difference in the world. Let’s face it, some of the stuff we have to learn would try the patience of Job and I didn’t have much of that in the first place!
5. Whatever happens, don’t give up.
Sometimes it seems an impossible task, all this marketing and promoting. As if writing wasn’t hard enough. You don’t have to self-publish, I hear you say, but we have tried the conventional route.
To say we are stubborn is probably an understatement, but we are great believers in ‘how hard can it be?’ and despite finding out that self-publishing is, indeed very hard, we have no intention of giving up just yet. We are having too much fun and meeting so many lovely people!
The last photograph on this page is by Jonathan Gunson from BestsellerLabs.com and I have it pride of place on the wall above my computer. Just so I can remember his advice on a daily basis; for of all the people I have listened to, he manages to make everything I am trying to do, that much more achievable.