The feeling of being a first time author is much like your first crush. It feels surreal. You want to pinch yourself a hundred times to check if this is indeed a dream. And when you realize that it’s not, you are overcome with gratitude and a sense of accomplishment for having made it. Despite the odds and challenges, you finally made it!
Along with the experience of being a first-time author, comes new learnings and some new found wisdom.
Here’s sharing some of my own.
1. You’re never done and dusted: I thought writing was the last step. It was just the start. Once you are done with the book, you need to start thinking of publishing it. And that is never the end too. You need to get out and actively market and promote your book. This involves getting out of your comfort zone and doing whatever it takes to get your book the publicity it deserves. Every book has its unique journey. I want to mention how some of us are under a false impression here that BlogChatter will do all the hard work for you. BlogChatter is an open democratic platform where anyone can participate in the Ebook Carnival and optimize the opportunities.
2. Be prepared to fail and fall: A lot of people get into writing with a lot of excitement and passion. They get motivated when a lot of people read their stories and comment on them. And likewise. Don’t get into writing for validation or affirmation from others. Become an author only if you love the craft. Not for any other reason. Don’t let others’ opinion of you or writing demotivate you. Don’t let others lack of shared enthusiasm for your writings kill your joy for writing. On another note, there were times when I felt my writings weren’t good. And that feeling of self-doubt is fine too. It should propel us towards becoming better writers. All of us suck at the beginning. So, it’s fine to fail and fall. Not once but many times. Its okay to look like a fool too. I cringe at some of my decade old writings. But, I see the evolution since then. And it continues. As long as you persevere and get better at the craft, you will get your due. Everyone’s journey is different.
3. Writing is a high: Writing can be all-consuming. I know. I have been a full-time writer exclusively for a year. And it’s an addictive process . Once you get into the process of writing a novella or novel or anything, you want to keep doing it. Over and over again. There was no distinction between day and night for me. I could just keep ideating and fleshing them on paper. While it’s all good, it’s good to have a balance so that the other areas of your life don’t get affected. Family, health, to name a few.
4. Importance of community: While some writers work best in isolation, most of us need the community network. We can do only so much when we try to do things on our own. By channelizing the power of communities, the word about your book spreads faster and wider. You get to make valuable connections that will help you stay inspired and give back to the community as well. I am a BlogChatter mentor today and this is my way of giving back to the community that has given me so much.
5. Unimagined opportunities: I am not a big planner. I plan for the day and take it as it comes. I’m trying to change that especially when it comes to the areas of my shortcomings. I believe concrete planning coupled with sincere efforts will help me conquer my weaknesses. Anyway, coming back to the journey of being a published author, I never imagined that I would be mentoring children on Creative Writing. When I announced ‘The Write Away Program’, there were adults who were interested in it too. Right now, my plate is full with a full-time job, family, writing and my well-being. Batch 1 went well. Batch 2 will start in a month’s time from now. I have ventured into English Grammar Classes. Contrary to my expectations, it’s actually a lot of fun teaching Grammar. So, your identity as an author can open up a lot of other avenues. This is my journey without spending a paise and nil efforts on marketing. My books will be out on Amazon shortly. Watch out for more news on this space.
So, these were some of my top-of-mind learnings.
What are your experiences and learnings as a first time author? I’m all ears!