Tuesday, July 5, 2016

IWSG: Benchmarks and insecurity.

First off, welcome to another installment of The Insecure Writer's Support Group!  The first Wednesday of each month, writers from all over gather and share our fears- join us!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html










Today I'm writing about writing benchmarks and the fear and terror that goes with them. 

I've been writing for a very long time, but just got serious the past 8-10 years. My world changed when I self-published my first book, The Glass Gargoyle, March 2015. Since then I've published the next two in that series, and the first one in my space opera series- Warrior Wench. That's four books in 14 months while having a full-time day job. I'm proud of that. Those books weren't slapped up there, I had a lot of professional help on them.

I've now had all four books at various times be on various different top 100 lists on Amazon. My sales are creeping upwards. (Yeah, not quitting that day job any time soon though. ;))

I'm moving forward. Slowly, but moving.

But I am constantly fighting fears, demons, and mental naysayers. 

When you're an independent author, you don't get the reinforcement the traditionally published authors do. No one is hanging out in your corner, handing you the water bottle and the mouth piece so you can go back out there and continue the fight(at least not professionally). The only shield we have against the horrific self doubt is us. 

The benchmarks of "success" are difficult to define--well, not if you're a NYT bestselling author, supporting your family through your writing--but for the rest of us they are. I count every single book sold as a success--the big authors are counting in the thousands.

You work so hard to get a book out, then you watch the sales slow down, but it's okay, soon you have another book to come out, then those sales slow down. Reviews don't come. Or when they do come there are some real stinkers in there. Getting on lists is good- falling off of them is not so good.

Other authors around you seem to be doing so much better, and when you listen to them, you wonder what you've done wrong. Trying to figure out why sales spiked (a great feeling) or crashed (again-not so much) is a game that will drive anyone mad.

I'm at the point where I feel okay with saying I'm a writer. I'm not sure how to convince myself that I'm a successful writer.


(And yes, the logical part of my brain is saying to be proud, define my own success, enjoy what I've done so far- but sometimes my little fear-animal-brain just isn't listening ;)).


16 comments:

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    1. Thanks! It may be frying my brain though- I set this to post Tuesday instead of Wednesday!

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  2. I know how that fear goes - no matter what anyone says, or what we say to ourselves, sometimes the fear is just there. In those moments, I have to focus on anything positive I can find and sometimes, take a walk. :)
    I hope you discover renewed courage this month!
    Way to go on all of your writing!!!

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    1. I like the walking idea! Kind of clear the head. I think I need to stop looking at external forces for validation, and look inside :).

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  3. Success is defined by you, so are you published? Yes. Are you a success in that front? Yes. Are you selling books and building a readership? Yes. I think those are huge successes. The rest will snowball with perseverance.

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    1. Thank you! It's that whining little kid inside me saying, "Are we THERE yet?" that is sometimes the problem ;).

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  4. You sound like a writer to me! Congratulations on your success!

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  5. Congratulations on a great accomplishment. Amazing isn't it, even with that output and that success doubt manages to creep in and color it gray. You've done well, relish that! You are a success! Keep writing, and know that's why the IWSG was formed, we all need to be reminded once in a while. We are writers!

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    1. Thank you :). I think you are soooo right and I know I owe Alex (the creator of of IWSG) a huge debt! Having others in the same situations point things out really helps :).

      Marie- at day job, can't sign into Blogger

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  6. I've always looked up to and admired your work and progress. I strive to achieve your level of success someday. :)

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    1. AWWW! Thank you! We can keep moving forward together :).

      Marie- at day job, can't sign into Blogger

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  7. I love that you said moving forward because that is my motto!
    Like everyone else said, you define your success. One thing is for sure, you will never have that super successful bestseller if you don't write. Keep writing forward!

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    1. Exactly! These books ain't gonna write themselves! (even though sometimes I wish that...a lot. ;)). Must keep moving forward!

      Marie- at day job, can't sign into Blogger

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  8. I am not a writer but a avid reader for me it is like breathing.Books have help me survive a horrible childhood. I look to all writers as my heroes moreover women writers who have the courage to write.As girl it was hard to find books where women were strong independent an self determined and Damn anyone Who got in their way.What I am trying to say success does not make a writer the courage to do it makes you a writer. And I would like to say thank you All for having the courage.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love, "the courage to do it makes you a writer". You just made every writer who reads this blog (including me) very happy and proud :).

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