I hope you’ve had a wonderful week of creating, learning, and letting your talent shine!
Last night, I typed “The End” in the final book of my very first trilogy (#feelz) and am now trying to psych up for the long road of editing that awaits me! The first installment is currently in the publication phase (i.e., being formatted, cover designed, proofread) so I am super excited to tell you more about it soon! I’ll be looking for advanced reviewers, too, so if you enjoy Young Adult novels, time travel, and Greek mythology, I think you’ll be interested!
Along with gearing up for the loathsome editing phase (I know that many authors enjoy editing, but this one definitely does not! I would rather spend eight hours writing copy for the backs of shampoo bottles than edit a single paragraph. But I digress…), I am also brainstorming my next novel. I have a few ideas for Armor for Orchids sequels, so the upcoming weeks will be devoted to fleshing those out and outlining key events and plot points. (You may know that I am not a thorough plotter by any means, but I am fond of creating brief outlines if only for the confidence boost they provide at the outset ;-).)
This part of the writing life – that is to say, the awkward lull in between projects – can be quite daunting. Inevitably, questions of doubt and fear arise, such as What if my next idea sucks? Or, if you’re planning to write a sequel, like I am, What if the sequel isn’t as good as the first one?
And those questions only pertain to your next novel, still only an embryo in your imagination.
Regarding your finished book, an entirely separate set of demoralizing questions throw their own special toxins into this mix: What if no one reads your series? What if no one reviews it? What if it only gets one-star reviews? What if the cover’s all wrong? What if I just wasted months of your life, not to mention money I could’ve spent buying hardcovers?
Tolerate questions like that for too long, and you’ll soon find yourself in writer’s hell, that Dantean circle of the underworld reserved for writers slain by their own angst and trepidation. As punishment, they’re sentenced to live out their unenviable eternity asking themselves what-if questions:
What if I hadn’t listened to those voices that held me back?
What if I had written courageously, for the sheer love of writing?
What if I’d approached every project like a summer day meant to bless me rather than an icy lake meant to swallow me hole when I least expected it?
It’s amazing how powerful those two little words can be. Depending on their context, they can shape or shatter our creative lives. When asked out of fear, “What if” has the potential to utterly paralyze us and prevent us from achieving our goals. When asked out of boldness, of unstoppable conviction, “What if” can help us think bigger, aim higher, and fly farther than we ever could have imagined.
How “What if” will operate for us depends solely on our attitude.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Zig Ziglar
I admitted to you earlier that I don’t like editing and that the thought of starting a new story from scratch after writing in the same fantasy world for roughly a year is a bit intimidating. Unstoppable writers aren’t in denial about their feelings. They don’t pretend to love every aspect of the writing process. They are human, after all – vulnerable, fragile, imperfect and complex, with unique proclivities and tastes that affect how they view and interact with their art. What makes them unstoppable is not the absence of negative thoughts and emotions, but their attitude, their unwavering resolve, which overcomes them.
Unstoppable writers take action when negative “What if’s” spring up like weeds between their ears. They pull them out and throw them to the wind, knowing that they are nothing but pernicious assailants, mischievous minions of Resistance. They have power only when we allow them to linger and choke out the healthy, life-giving blooms of perseverance and purpose around them.
I’m choosing to reject Resistance. I’m choosing to ask the positive what-if questions: What if I write about this? What if I set the novel here? What if readers really love my trilogy? What if the next cover is the best of all my books thus far?
Will editing still be dull at times? Yes.
Will the road to publication still be a long and tedious one? Yes.
Will marketing the books still be frustrating as this introvert dons her saleswoman hat? Heck. Yes.
Will drafting a brand-new book be challenging? Without a doubt.
But I can do it. And so can you, because unstoppable writers don’t let uncertainty or discomfort erect walls between them and their dreams. The unknown excites us and piques our curiosity. We see it as a sparkling new chapter, and we just can’t wait to turn the page…
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! What are you doing today to become more unstoppable? Tweet me @dandersontyler and let me know!