(This post will be on Fiction University some time this week, but I thought I'd share it with you as well.)
Deciding to be an Indie author might be one of the hardest choices you'll ever make. Why? Because there's a good chance it will be you and only you writing, editing, formatting, cover art, social media, website, marketing, scheduling speaking engagements, finances, budgeting, travel arrangements—it's all up to you until you have money to pay for a team of helpers.
It can be exhausting.
It can drain you of all creative energy, and you may reach a point when you discover you no longer enjoy writing. You may ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
The stress and insecurities start to affect every aspect of your life and relationships. Part of you needs to write. However, you can see you're hemorrhaging time and money with little or no return on your investments. You produce a book you KNOW is your best work to date, but no one buys it. You can't even give it away for free! It's disheartening to the point that you’re ready to throw your hands in the air and walk away.
Before you call it quits, take the time to look at WHY you want to quit.
Are you physically tired? Physical weariness can often be due to lack of sleep, poor dietary choices, and lack of exercise. Sleep, or lack of sufficient sleep can affect every area of your life. Psychology Today posted a great article on this back in 2018. They looked at the following five areas: reaction times, making and storing memories, attention span, ability to make good decisions and levels of creativity. Those last two could be why you feel like quitting.
Diet. I'm not going to tell you what to eat because everyone has slightly different needs based on gender, age, and activity level. I will ask this—what do you normally eat? Is it high in refined sugars that build you up and send you crashing down? Do you get enough brain food (good veggies and protein), do you drink enough water?
Exercise. Do you engage in some form of exercise? A simple walk every day can do wonders for your mental state as well as help with feeling tired.
Have you been consumed with things and not taken care of yourself in the process? Many times we get so busy trying to build up our author brand/business while living our regular lives (jobs, family, church and civic involvement, whatever) that we forget to pay attention to the our own needs. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is turn off the phone and go for a walk, a drive, a swim, do yoga, sit in a coffee shop alone, whatever it is that helps you refocus on what is important to YOU and not all the voices shouting at you from every angle, every day.
Do you feel little support? This is a tough one. You can't make other people support you emotionally, intellectually, financially, or any other way. We have to stand on our own feet and realize our dream isn't important to anyone but us. However, when someone says something good about you or your work, store that away for a rainy day. Pulling out those moments can give you the strength to bully your way through the clouds.
Are you lacking ability? Perhaps the lack of success is due to your current skill set. Where do you need to improve and how can you gain those skills? You may need to invest in some writer's conferences (which I highly recommend), get some books on writing craft, editing, or take some of those free webinars on how to do social media, Facebook ads, and other marketing. If you can't pay someone else to do it, you have to take charge and learn it for yourself.
Have you come up against some difficulties that you are unprepared for? Of course, you have! We all do, we all will. I want to write. Marketing is a foreign language and I'm struggling. However, see the above section. Figure out what you need to solve your problem and go for it.
Do you simply need to take a step back before continuing on? Sometimes you need to take a break to find the joy once more. You know that saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It's true in this case as well. And if you don't decide to come back to writing, you have your answer.
Going Indie can be a wonderful blessing for any author. Especially, if you are armed and ready for the emotional roller coaster it can become.
Psychology Today (Why you can’t think straight when sleep deprived)--https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201811/why-you-can-t-think-straight-when-you-re-sleep-deprived
7 Things to do when you want to give up--https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-things-when-you-want-give.html
20 Questions to ask yourself when you feel like giving up—https://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/tip-20-Questions-to-Ask-Yourself-if-You-Feel-Like-Giving-Up