It’s hard to believe that today is December 31, 2015. I wanted to jot down a few things that I’ve learned about writing this year.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WASTED WRITING
I’m not sure why I had it in my head that I had to use everything I wrote down for something. I viewed any discarded writing as a “waste” of time and effort. But it isn’t. I’ve used and improved every idea, phrase, character and technique that I’ve written down. So, there is no such thing as “wasted” writing, because writing builds on itself.
PERFECTION IS BAD
I can’t say that I’ve mastered this lesson. I still have “perfectionist” tendencies. It pains me to post or submit anything that I view as less than perfect. But honestly, I wouldn’t have published ANYTHING in 2015 if I had clung to this ideal. I wouldn’t have this blog, and I definitely wouldn’t have been published on Scary Mommy or Nugget Tales. Perfection squashes ideas, creativity and progress. So next year, I will continue to submit and post less than perfect examples of my writing to the viewing public and hope that “good enough” is, well, good enough.
REJECTION IS GOOD
Fear of failure is another big obstacle to progress. I sat on my writing for DECADES. That’s right – DECADES. For such a long time, I was so afraid of being rejected that I never showed my writing to anyone or submitted things anywhere. But like most things, the more rejections I faced, the better I became at not only dealing with them, but also learning from them. So, I am learning to view rejection as GOOD. It means that I tried and it’s an opportunity for me to learn.
WRITING BEGETS WRITING
I don’t know why I always had it in my head that to be a writer, I need to sit down in solitary confinement for hours and just write without disruption. When I finally started doing these “write 15 minutes a day” self-imposed challenges, I actually accomplished more writing in a few months than I had in decades. The ideas flowed faster and my writing improved. Carving out small niches of time throughout the day works best in my hectic life. I will continue to do this next year.
SOCIAL MEDIA MAY NOT BE AS HARD AS I THOUGHT
I admit that the thought of having to market myself and my work was intimidating. This is especially ironic when you consider that I have an MBA and worked in Marketing. But marketing a company’s product is easy. Marketing myself and my work is NOT. It’s incredibly uncomfortable for me to push myself and my stuff on my friends. I don’t like it and I’d prefer not to do it.
So, I was incredibly relieved when I stumbled across Kristen Lamb’s blog and book, both of which I highly recommend. Her information on how to create a marketing platform through social media reminded me of one of the tenets from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People: Become genuinely interested in other people. I’m fortunate, because this has always been an easy lesson for me. I actually love hearing other people’s stories. And this is really what social media is all about. Making connections and showing a SINCERE interest in other people.
I’m good about this on Facebook, but not so good about it on WordPress. There are so many people on here that I’d like to get to know better. I hope I do a better job of it next year.
WRITE AND PUBLISH, WRITE AND PUBLISH, WRITE AND PUBLISH
This lesson has come to me over the past month. Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking, two authors who transformed the self-publishing industry, have changed my mind about self-publishing. I always wanted to follow the traditional publishing route, but I am incredibly inspired by their success stories. Each of them wrote stories that they themselves wanted to read. Each of them focused less on marketing and more on WRITING STORIES. By the time people started taking notice of their work, each author had a LARGE VIRTUAL FOOTPRINT on the DIGITAL BOOKSHELF.
All of these years, I just wanted to write and publish ONE book. BIG MISTAKE. I need to WRITE AND PUBLISH, and WRITE AND PUBLISH, and WRITE AND PUBLISH. So, that’s what I’m going to do……
TO ANYONE READING THIS: Thank you so much for all of your views, likes and comments. They have meant a lot to me. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of your stories next year. I promise to do a better job of reaching out on WordPress next year.
Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve! May you achieve all of writing your goals in 2016!
Wishing you and your family much peace and love,