Step One: Write your book.
Step Two: Criticize your book and tell yourself it will never be good enough.
Step Three: Fight back the crippling self-doubt, and edit the crap out of your book.
Step Four: Publish the book you’ve slaved days, months, years of your life over.
Step Five: Fight another wave of crippling self-doubt when you don’t sell as many copies as you thought you would.
Step Six: Repeat until steps two and five stop happening.
With the recent release of In a Blue Moon, I’m pondering the idea of what it takes to be a writer. Truly become the author you were meant to be. I’m getting there. I’m publishing, I’m taking strides, I’m putting one foot in front of the other, and I’m still fighting back the same crippling self-doubt as everyone else.
Here’s the reality: You have to love the process. If you don’t, it’s pointless.
You may make it big one day, you may not. You may have your book change a single person’s life. You may have your book flounder into oblivion. You may have a movie made out of your book. You may become famous. You may strike it rich. You may never receive a single paycheck over $100 for your writing. This is the reality. Some people make it. Some people don’t.
Some people decide, “To hell with it, I’m doing what I love to be doing” and keep publishing anyway.
Be that person. You can hope for success and the best. You can hope to make it big, but the reality is, no one knows what will stick. You need to keep writing because you love it. If you don’t love it, this may be the longest, and most frustrating, career path in history.
For a while, I started to hate what I was doing. I fell into this pattern of forcing myself to work instead of enjoying the process. I lost sight of why I liked creating stories. For me, finding a reason to continue writing was more important than the writing process itself. For me, my love of the craft comes before anything else. Without it, I am lost.
I refocused my energy by looking at the little things. Quirks of characters I have created. Story details so little most readers probably won’t notice. Inside jokes I’ve managed to weave into my pieces. What inspired me to write the story in the first place.
Once I reminded myself of what I loved, finishing the book became easy. And with another title under my belt, I’m jumping right into editing another book. Now that I have a reason to continue, I don’t want to stop. I love writing, and the love of the craft makes me tenacious. It drives me forward and gives me the inertia to continue.
So what keeps you motivated to write? What small things have you fallen in love with in your own story? Why do you need to tell it so desperately that it keeps you awake at night?
Let me know in the comments!