How To Be The Boss Of Your Creative Life

googleimages2Has everyone heard of impostor syndrome?

It’s that feeling we’ve all experienced where, despite our accomplishments, we’re unable to feel like we’ve earned our spot. Like we’re a creative imposter and someone is going to find out we don’t belong.

I don’t know any creative person who has never internalized this feeling.

But the truth is: we’ve all earned our spots, because the only opinion that matters is yours. So shake off those insecurities and learn to be the boss of your creative life.

Remember…

  • You are your harshest critic. Don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself like you’d treat any other critique partner.
  • If you don’t respect your writing time, no one else will. Make those quiet moments count.
  • You decide what your idea of success is. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be.
  • If you want to write for you, that’s okay. Getting published doesn’t define a writer. 
  • Give your life breathing room to allow creative thoughts to come in. When you schedule your day down to the minute where will inspiration come from?
  • If you want to be a writer you must do two things: call yourself a writer and write.
  • Imposter syndrome means that people overcompensate to outwardly show like they belong. But what matters most is quietly chipping away at your goals in a way that is meaningful to you.
  • It could take months, or it could take years. Don’t stop when the going gets tough. This isn’t a craft you learn quickly. Read this Writer’s Digest article by my author Karen Katchur.
  • We spend our lives writing, talking and also non-verbally communicating. Listen and look at what’s happening around you: those are the honest parts of life that need to make it into your writing to make it come alive. Desk time isn’t the only writing time. 
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes. As long as you learn from them they’re all part of your process. And give yourself permission to break routine. As long as you know the difference between a routine that’s no longer working and taking a day off.
  • A “no” only gets you closer to the “yes” that matters. And all it takes is one yes.

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Looking to take the next step with your writing? Join my Sept 3 webinar with Writer’s Digest.

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Webinar: Successfully Publishing Your First Novel in the 21st Century

IS09AK1RZJoin me on Sept 3 at 1pm EST for a webinar!

Writer’s Digest is delightfully hosting me again for another great afternoon of talking books and business.

Busy that day? If you want to sign up but you’re booked up, sign up anyway because you get the webinar emailed to you.

PLUS everyone receives a 5 page critique of your work!

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Here are the details for Successfully Publishing Your First Novel in the 21st Century:

It has never been more difficult to get traditionally published and make your writing stand out than right now. No matter what your writing goals are, a writer needs to get their book noticed to make it in this age of publishing. But with the right tools and industry insider tips you can make it possible.

Literary agent Carly Watters has years of experience launching debut authors. She’ll share with you the process of polishing your manuscript and getting it publication ready, querying literary agents effectively, keeping an agent’s attention with your manuscript, how to make the most of an agent/author relationship, how to find the best place to publish your writing, and where to find your readers.

Getting published today is still about the book: the writing has to be superb and stand alone. However, there are other tools writers can harness to grow their career. Carly will share her industry insider tips that have helped her clients grow from slush pile darlings to successfully published authors.

Being a published author in the 21st century means knowing how to get published, how to do it well, and how to rise above all the other books out there. Instead of accepting that it’s a competitive industry, why not learn what it takes to build a successful writing career?

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How to begin your book and why you’ve probably been starting in the wrong spot
  • Self-editing tips that will transform your manuscript
  • How to make your query letter stand out (from someone who reads over 800 a month!)
  • Why agents stop reading your manuscript
  • What agents are looking for in writers that are going to help them stand out
  • How agents partner with authors to make them stand out in 21st century publishing

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Writers who are looking to publish their work for the first time
  • Writers who want to get their manuscript publication ready
  • Writers who would like to get a literary agent
  • Writers who would like tips on how to query literary agents
  • Writers who want to learn more about the business side of publishing in the 21st century
  • Writers who have published before, but are looking for better ways to find readers

Sign up today and secure your spot!

4 Things You Don’t Know About Self Publishing Until You Do It

Thinking about embarking on self publishing a book on your own? Not sure what the experience is going to be like? This week I feature three of my hybrid authors who have self published projects or series.

There are a lot of factors to consider–How much you can do yourself vs. what you can hire someone to do? How do you get recognized? Will my genre be successful in the self publishing market?

Read on to get the inside scoop on writers making self publishing work for me.

From Rebecca Phillips, author of JUST YOU series

It surprised me how random an author’s success can be. You could spend a lot of time and money on promotion and only sell a handful of books. On the other hand, you could get really lucky and have a break-out hit without much promotion at all. It’s a big mystery.

From Kim Cano, author of ON THE INSIDE and more

Prior to self-publishing, I read every post on a popular self-publishing blog and decided to go for it. I knew there would be a lot of work involved, from writing a great story to finding/hiring an editor to marketing, but I was excited to start my career and saw it as a challenge.

Later on, I discovered most successful Indie authors were in the romance, thriller, and science fiction genre, and that only one, Darcie Chan, had a breakout hit in women’s literary fiction. Undeterred, I continued writing books I’d like to read and had some success along the way, with my first two women’s fiction novels hitting Amazon’s Top 100 several times. That said, it’s still tough to compete against big books in my genre with a limited marketing budget, but I continue to try.

From Caitlin Rantala, author of INDUSTRY DARLING

If someone thinks self-publishing is for them, I’d first say you should get involved in the writing community long before they publish their novel. Make friends! Read all the books! Join a writers blog! Create your own blog! It takes a village to publish a novel, even if you’re self-pubbing. So don’t be shy. Favorite people’s tweets, talk to them! Not only will you start to network, you’ll also meet some incredible people and incredible talent.

Second, you are your biggest advocate and you can’t be afraid to speak up and ask for things. Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of growing up in the writing community. Readers, authors and bloggers are some of my absolute favorite people and over the years I’ve watched this community be supportive, encouraging and uplifting of its own. And when INDUSTRY DARLING was published, I experienced this first hand–the trick with self-publishing though, is you have to speak up, you have to seek out opportunity. A month or so before my book was published, I shot out a few DM Twitter messages to a few author friends, asking if they would want to read an ARC of INDUSTRY DARLING and blurb it. Almost everyone I asked said they’d make the time and wanted to read it. 

Sometimes I’m told ‘no,’ but more often than not, I’m given the green light. The main thing I’ve learned in self-publishing is if you don’t care, no one else is going to care. It’s certainly time consuming, but if you believe in your work, it’s absolutely worth it.  

10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes

typeEveryone’s looking for the “rules” of getting published. I try to share some wisdom on my blog, but who am I kidding? There are no rules. However, here are some guidelines (in quote form!) for aspiring writers…

10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes:

1. What works for other writers doesn’t have to work for you. It’s okay to make your own rules. And, what works for other writers often won’t work for you so it’s best not to compare your writing or your style to anyone else.

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” — Jon Acuff

2. You don’t have to write every day. In fact, it’s perfectly okay to avoid burn out and take a day off. It doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.

“Hard scheduling rules — write every day! work on research for one hour each morning! exercise 10 hours a week! — deployed in isolation will lead to procrastination as soon as you start to violate them, which you almost certainly will do.” — Cal Newport

3. You have to make writing a priority, though. Even if it’s not everyday…

“I could not have written a novel if I hadn’t been a journalist first, because it taught me that there’s no muse that’s going to come down and bestow upon you the mood to write. You just have to do it. I’m definitely not precious.” — Gillian Flynn

4. Perfectionism doesn’t exist. There will never be a perfect first draft. Or any draft for that matter.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” — Anne Lamott

5. In order to commercially succeed your writing has to be meaningful for others, not just yourself.

“When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.” — Anne Lamott

6. You don’t need a complete outline in order to get started. You might not be a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser.’ All you need is the ambition to start.

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” — E.L. Doctorow

7. Know why you write. That will get you through the days you won’t want start.

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” — Stephen King

8. The best way to hone your writing chops is to read. There is no better teacher or better research, just read.

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” — Samuel Johnson

9. Your stories are all around you. You are living your ideas. You just need to open your mind and grab a notebook.

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” — Orson Scott Card

10. You are the only one holding yourself back from writing your breakout novel.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” — Les Brown