There is a void between writing for oneself and writing for others. A chasm deep and fearsome. One which has the power to prevent some people from making the leap from one realm to the other.
I thought about this after having received 15 submissions from fellow writers for my Dare to Write Summer Writing Challenge. Fifteen writers that all deserve a badge of courage, because that is freaking hard to do. None of these writers has ever met me; they only know me from blogging and maybe some Twitter or Facebook action. Beyond that? They put on some brave and got serious about their writing.
Learning how to be a writer in public is part mechanics, part spiritual. There are steps you have to physically take, but if you don’t throw your spirit behind those steps you won’t succeed.
Write with intention. Not only should you treat being a public writer like a job, but you must believe in your work, whether it’s a blog post or your fictional characters. If you’re simply writing for the heck of it, that’s perfectly acceptable, but don’t expect to get anywhere anytime soon—and certainly don’t expect an earnest following outside of your grandma and her parakeets.
Writing on a regular basis is the best way to stay focused and motivated, the best way to grow and learn, and the best way to move forward on your quest. Maybe you can’t write every-freakin’-day, and I get it, even though I hate those non-writing days, myself. I never feel as fulfilled or satisfied at day’s end. If it means I have to sneak in 15 minutes to throw down a fight scene, I’ll do it because I feel healthier in my soul.
Building a street team to help plug your work is a must in this noisy publishing world. Writers might start off solo, but very few stay solo, especially if they want to be in the public eye. Writers need fans, editors, readers, and other writers to help them be seen and read. This takes a lot of time and consideration because not all readers are GOOD readers and not all editors are GOOD editors. You have to be picky and not feel bad about it. Your career is at stake here, so choose #TeamWriter carefully!
Make peace with your demons. Let’s face it—being a writer in public is like inviting all your demons over for tea at your place.
Oftentimes, we have no idea what demons we have to face down until we’ve announced our book is for sale. Heck, we might as well have offered to sell our children to slavery when you consider the subsequent intense denial. Suddenly, we don’t wanna be writers no more. We wanna go back to our re-uhl jobs and stay nice and qui-qui.
Puh-leese. No. That is the WORST thing you can do—giving into the fear of being a writer in public. Yes, it’s freaking scary. Yes, it’s freaking hard. Yes, it’s eating away at your sleep and what little mental stability you have left but so what? That’s what being a writer is all about! Get out there or get off the pot!
Demons will come and go. Writing will only stick around as long as you give it attention. And that’s the whole bottom-line of writing in general: Let writing go, and you could lose it forever.
It’s cool if you want to be a private writer. Privacy is a writer’s roots, and we must never underestimate its power and grace.
For those of you who long to be in the public eye, I encourage you to take those steps that require action and spirit, the ones that will help you grow, falter, and grow some more.
To all the writers who submitted a piece for the Dare to Write Summer Writing Challenge, I am still reading and writing feedback! I haven’t forgotten you! Soon you’ll be hearing from me–I promise!
Have a writerly day, y’all!