How to Hold Balls

Get your mind out of the gutta.  

As this writer thing moves along, especially as a neophyte, I've realized stuff worth mentioning. If you don't know, I blog for those who: are considering becoming a writer, are interested in my progress and process and finally those who write as well and can relate or sympathize. I really invite and welcome all kinds of audiences, just as long as somewhere down the line, someone listens. I'm grateful to admit that I've never allowed myself to wear blinders since the day I've stroked the first key on my keyboard for my novel. I told myself I wanted to learn everything I could so I could best prepare myself for success. I've embraced the warnings as much as I've embraced the positives. Nothing I've learned took away the steam. As I always say, this is my calling.

But my calling has many faces. A mean face, a doubtful face, an optimistic face, a busy face--you name it. There's a face! But how far you choose to stretch yourself as an author is up to you. You have a brand, a reputation, a business comprised of product development and marketing, and social outreach. None of these basic aspects can be ignored. You cannot believe that marketing is irrelevant no more than your social outreach. These are the balls that any author must juggle. They sound few in quantity but the level of quality intensifies the job.

The first thing you learn when you want to be a writer is that writing the book is a harsh commitment. Highly rewarding and fun, but relentless nonetheless. Many, many posts ago, I wrote about the fact that writing the book will seem like the most gentle part of an author's life once it's written. One minute it's harsh and then gentle? 

Well, yes. It's relentless until it's done and gentle once you learn that the other steps are huge mountains of which you see no end. But being an author is a business deemed cutthroat and full of competition. Okay. In what business do you find people who are nothing but kind and angelic with people insisting, "No, I'll pass. You take that promotion, and I'll wait indefinitely for the opportunity to get to the top."? Let's be happy that there are a plethora of authors. There can never be too much education, humor or stories to enlighten, touch or entertain people. And if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've spoken on the fact that I don't see writers as competition. I choose not to occupy that headspace. 

That's why, even though I am endlessly editing my books with deadlines pushed back more than I can count, I always accept requests from other authors to read their materials. We value feedback. I always promote authors on my webpage. I always try to announce the works of other Indie authors so readers can discover what my fellow authors have on the market. Is there always time for this? Of course not. But since goals don't always have to be met in a day, you work around that and remain honest and upfront with your ability to meet an expectation. We authors know how this is. This isn't even factoring in families and jobs. We just keep a hot pot of coffee nearby and work it all out. Meanwhile, we have to keep up with marketing and strategizing and all the new social media apps. We have tons of battles to pick as we cannot fight them all and definitely not all at once. So, if you think we all sit pretty with coffee and a laptop at Starbucks while everyone is hitting the pavement . . . well, you may be on to something. The adrenaline rush that waves in from being a writer is the freedom to write what's playing in our heads: choosing the right paintbrushes at the right time to stroke the right color so the end result offers something at which the readers may marvel. We don't want to deliver anything vapid; we want something that resonates with our readers. That's the pretty part.

Writers are a one-woman/man show. We have brains that run faster than what we can keep up with, voices that scream to be heard, stories that pop up when we should be focusing on the now, hands that have fingers that want to dance in no particular rhythm that only a keyboard can soothe, moments of anxiety that creep up for fear of abandoned perfection and missed deadlines, countless tools at our disposal to "organize" our thoughts, overzealous emotions and moments of despair driven by the wheel of panic. That's us. And because writing is rewarding, we shrug and place these idiosyncrasies in a box and go along with our day. 

So now you know that if you want to be an author, you better be prepared to wrap many scarves around your neck. If you don't like this field much, you'll probably never finish your book, let alone start it, and you'll definitely find the scarves suffocating. But if you love this business, you embrace the pashminas as well and learn how to layer up.