We live in a world that focuses on destinations, not journeys. You go to school to get a degree, then to get a good job, then to rise to a better salary, only to work with the goal of retiring so that someday, when you’re old, you can finally go off and do the things you’ve wanted to do your whole life. Everything around us in society is goal-oriented.
But you may not be alive next month or next year. Do you really want to wait years before you have true joy and feel a deep sense of success in your writing life?
Is it impossible to believe you can have that success this year, the kind of success that is completely fulfilling? I believe we all can, if we shift our view to align with the reality of not just the publishing trends but life in the twenty-first century.
Don’t Just Survive
I believe what you can learn in community with other like-minded authors will not only affect how you look at your persona as a writer but will spill over into all facets of your life. I believe joy is only a mental shift away. And success is only a matter of applying innovative steps with and within a community of like authors who share the same passion for writing and reaching an audience as you do!
You may never become a NY Times best-selling author, but I assure you that you will find so much joy and fulfillment in not just surviving but thriving in the writing life you won’t agonize over not achieving what the old paradigm said you must to be considered a success. Think about what used to be true.
Out with the Old!
- The old methods taught you that all other authors (in your genre) were your competition, which fostered a negative, jealous tendency to compare, envy, and criticize another’s success. The new paradigm sees other authors as part of your supportive community, and those would have previously been your competition are now your true fans and ardent supporters.
- The old paradigm taught you that there is limited room at the top because only traditional publishing houses called the shots and created the stars, and they only had so much money to spend. The new world says there is room for every great author to be published and have equal “shelf space” and the opportunity to be discovered globally and have great success and recognition.
- The old view is that you have to sell millions of copies of your books to eke out a living because of the low royalties from traditionally published books, and that if you don’t become rich from your sales, you are a failed author. The new and healthy way of thinking is that you can become a real success with 1,000 true fans, and you can build a lasting, loyal readership, one fan at a time, by being a part of a tribe or community that gets excited over what you write. And in truth, isn’t that what an author wants more than anything, deep in her heart—true fans who love her work?
If You Want to Go It Alone, Then Go Ahead
There is room out there in the world of readers for everyone to develop 1,000 true fans, to have success. A shift in attitude is needed, and what lone authors need so much in this tough world of continual rejection is a strong support group of other authors who can be, in a sense, accountability partners.
The Writing for Your Life mentality provides a structure for you to build that support group—your lifeline through the journey. And it offers you the opportunity to be a support to others. If you are the type who wants to go it alone, does not want to put effort out to encourage other authors on their journey, does not want to work on behalf of others to help see them succeed alongside you, then this concept is not for you. Like most things, you get back what you put in. You can’t just show up on Facebook or Twitter; you need to be active, join in, give out, share content.
What I’ve decided to do is seek out communities that foster these ideas and are putting them into practice. At first I thought I would start my own, figuring no one else “out there” was doing this already. But I am finding there are established, growing communities of authors that have seen some great success and are enjoying fellowship. In essence, they are helping authors find their 1,000 true fans, and as a result are growing their own fan base. Sound like work. Yes, but what of it?
Sow True, Sow True
I’ll go into more detail in other blog posts, but I hope I’ve given you something to think about. I will tell you this much—since I have been applying the concepts and attitudes I’m going to propose to you, I have been experiencing some great joy! And it’s often not over my own successes or benchmarks. And I’ve reaped some wonderful personal rewards from implementing the ideas I’m going to share with you.
You can do as much or as little as you like to grow your fans and help others grow theirs, but I believe in the biblical adage: you reap what you sow. If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully. That’s basically a law of nature. If you sit around and don’t sow at all, don’t expect to wake one morning and find your field full of ripe corn ready for the picking. You have to plant, one seed at a time, to bring in a harvest.
So, put on your muck boots and grab your hoe. We’re off!