2016-02-28

Self-Publishing: Patience

Update
Dragonverse Origins now stands at 87,817 words. I'm working as hard as I can to finish this book but I'm also not going to blow the ending. One of these days (10+ years from now) I will be retired and I will have the ability to write every morning. Then, I can pump out 2 books a year without any problems. I write in the morning on weekends and day's off only because that is when my wife is asleep. I also squeeze in a few hours here and there when she is out and about and I'm home with nothing else planned. My wife did not marry me only to sit and watch me immerse myself in my writing when I'm not at work. I did not marry her so I could abandon her to a life of living with someone who spends all his time writing or reading Twitter. So, until I retire, my writing time is limited and that's okay with me.

Patience
I pride myself as being a patient person. I was in the military and one of the popular sayings is "Hurry up and wait". If you don't have patience, waiting can become a form of torture. In my previous job at the nuclear plant where I now work, I would spend a large part of my day waiting. Patience is a must in these circumstances. But there is one thing that has always challenged my patience: Getting to the end of a book.

When I'm reading and I get close to the end, I tend to speed up and rush so I can finish it and move on to the next book. I don't care how good the book is, when I get to the last 3 or 4 chapters or the last 20 pages, all I want to do is finish it so I can pick up and start the next book on my reading list. The same goes for writing. When I get to the ending, I tend to rush because I want to get the book out there and I want to start on the next project.

This past week has been particularly challenging for me because I've actually been questioning myself as a writer. Sales have been down -- way down -- and I think it's because I haven't released a book in over a year. My brain tells me to hurry up and finish Dragonverse Origins so I can release it and start on another one to help boost sales. I've also caught myself wondering if anyone reads these posts at all. Sometimes I get some replies to questions but more often than not I get nothing when I ask a question. Other writers I know have huge sets of comments each time they post.

The statistics page tells me that my posts are being read -- Thank you! But the statistics also say that my readership is rather small. I've been blogging for several years and I had hoped more would be reading. Perhaps my posts are too long. Maybe they've been too unfocused. But if that's the case, why hasn't anyone commented so I can make changes? Feedback these days seems to be quite limited. I thrive on feedback.

All writers, but especially self-published writers, have ups and downs. Patience is an important part of dealing with the down part of writing. Patience can be learned but it's not easy for most people. For myself, my mind has to be constantly engaged in something. When I was in high school, I carried a paperback pocketbook around with me. I read it in class before the bell, after I finished a test while waiting for the rest of the class to finish, while standing in the lunch line, on the bus to and from school, and anytime I had a moment to myself. I did a ton of reading in high school. These days I use the cell phone in place of the paperback book. I keep up on Twitter and my mail during idle moments. These time-slot filling activities are a help, but I can also just sit and wait -- for as long as it takes.

But patience can only go so far. To help deal with situations where patience seems to be running out you must come up with other solutions. For myself, I must continually remind myself that I'm not a big-time writer with a huge following. I make very good money at my day job (which I love by the way) and I just got a 6% raise making that income all that much better. The money I make from writing as well as the joy I get from it is an added bonus to my life. I have to continually tell myself that writing is not and should not be my entire life. A person must set priorities in their life. Mine are:

  • Family (my wife is on the top of that sub-list)
  • My day job
  • Writing
Based on the above, since my wife is asleep and I'm not at work, I need to be writing. 

By the way - if you have any suggestions for improving this blog, I want to hear from you.