Once we're published, a whole new host of issues crops up. We may feel stuck or pressured to write a better book than the last one. We can receive bad reviews. Or our books might not be priced well or carried in major chain stores (or not make it to the shelves on release day). Also, the market can change so rapidly, an author can struggle to keep up.
Wherever you are in your writing journey, there can be a sense of helplessness about writing, but the truth is, we do have considerable control . The key is to focus on what you can control.
- Finishing manuscripts. Some authors work on a single novel for years, striving to get it to the place where it's publishable. While polishing and editing are valuable and admirable, I suggest that we keep trying new things. Editors will sometimes contract books that aren't perfect, knowing they can help shape the story. With each new book, we hone our skills. Which takes me to the next point:
- Growing and Learning! Attend conferences and workshops. Read books, articles, and blog posts on the craft. Follow agents, editors, and writing groups on Social Media. Yes, the market does change, sometimes rapidly, so determine how to keep abreast of new preferences. Joining a national chapter can be an invaluable resource in these areas.
- Choosing Your Why. You alone can answer this question. Why are you writing? What is it you need to say, and how is God calling you to use this gift? How do you see success differing in God's eyes, compared to the world's eyes? When you answer that question, you have a purpose for your goal of writing, and it can help you stay on track.
- Stop Worrying About Everyone Else! By this, I don't mean to ignore other authors' work--not at all! But stop comparing yourself to others who are more or less successful than you are. You are on your own journey. They are on theirs. Focus on You, Your Writing, Your Why.
- Reading! Read the genre you want to publish. Read outside of your genre. Reading molds our writing. Keep at it!
These won't guarantee success, of course, but they can help us take control of our journeys and feel as if we do indeed have power.
And those things over which we have no or little control? One last thing:
- Talk to your agent or a mentor (don't have a mentor? Try a writing conference and ask someone experienced to share some insight!). Rely on others for advice and support.
But some things, alas, are totally out of the author's control. Learn from each situation as best you can, handle it with integrity, and let it go...into the Lord's hands.
What other suggestions would you add to the list?