I’m a perfectionist. That’s not news to any of you who have been reading my blog for a while. *smile* But that meant I had to get over a lot of my own issues to be able to publish my stories.
Those of us on the traditional publishing path have (or will have) an agent, an editor (maybe several editors), and a publisher acquisitions team all chiming in about when our story is ready. Those authors also don’t have to learn retailer accounts or the millions of other little things that authors on the indie path need to do themselves.
Those of us on the indie path have to find other ways to reach the “it’s ready” stage and have to do a lot of jobs we feel unqualified for. For indie authors who are also over-thinking perfectionists? Well, it can be a struggle. *smile*
Many steps along our writing path can make us uncomfortable: querying, sending out to beta readers, drafting a story that isn’t quite as good as it seemed in our head, revising a story that we know isn’t right, pushing publish on our stories, etc.
I’ve struggled with feeling uncomfortable many times, but nothing was as difficult for me as taking the step of publishing. In fact, I never would have been able to publish if I hadn’t pushed myself to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Truth #1: It’s Uncomfortable to Be Less-than-Perfect
I was lucky. As a romance author, I had access to contests galore to get outsider input on when I was in the right ballpark quality-wise to think of publishing.
Even so, it was easy to think one contest win or final was a fluke, or that the competition must not have been as fierce for that contest. Note that it took me 9 contest wins and finals to get over my “it’s a fluke” stage. That’s a perfectionist for you.
But I still wanted to make my stories better. Three editors later (developmental editor, line editor, and copy editor—just like the big publishers), I have to accept that I’ve made each story the best I can make it…at this point in time.
“At this point in time.” That’s a killer to a perfectionist because that admits our story would be better if we waited a month, a year, ten years. But if we listened to that voice, we’d never publish.
Everything we do in life is “the best we can do at that point in time.” From our schoolwork to redecorating a house to raising a child—everything is simply “the best we can do.” Never perfect. We have to be comfortable enough with our imperfection that we move forward anyway.
Truth #2: It’s Uncomfortable to Not Know Everything
My over-thinking style also didn’t want me to “jump” until I knew enough about indie publishing to be comfortable with all aspects of it. *cough splutter weeze* Yeah, after reading everything I could on the subject for a year, sometimes there’s nothing quite like actually doing it to force a feeling a comfort.
My writing buddies reached the point of asking me every couple of days if I’d picked a release date yet. One of them, the wonderful Angela Quarles, finally stepped in to do my formatting—I suspect so I couldn’t use needing to learn that skill as my next excuse.
While my short story was being formatted (i.e., the last stage in the publishing process), I still found myself asking oodles of questions and saying, “What? How could I not know that?” on a regular basis. We can study a subject for eternity and still not know as much as actually taking action on said subject.
Now, I’ve published on multiple platforms, including GooglePlay, which many self-publishers avoid because it has a reputation for being tricky and intimidating. I managed this feat mostly because I tried.
You know that saying about how you can’t succeed unless you try? Totally true. *smile*
Truth #3: It’s Uncomfortable to Have to Rely on Others
As soon as we start sharing our work with others, we run into the issue of having to trust others. We hope our beta readers or critique partners do a good job and don’t miss telling us about the huge plot hole that would embarrass us if others saw it.
We might have to trust our agent to do the right thing for our story. We have to trust our editors to push us further than we think we can grow and our designers to provide quality cover art.
Unless those of us on the indie path do our own editing and cover art (which isn’t recommended), we need to trust our team no matter our publishing path. Those on the indie path have the power to hire and fire, but we often don’t know enough to judge quality until it’s too late.
Whatever path we’re on, we often have to blindly trust that people will do their jobs at the best level they can do. That can be uncomfortable, and yet we have to do it anyway if we ever hope to make progress with our writing, publishing, and career.
Truth #4: It’s Uncomfortable to Not Be 100% Ready
Even with all my reading, studying, and preparing, I didn’t feel ready to push Publish on my stories. I felt like I was drowning in a confusing mess of information. In fact, each day I felt less qualified and ready to take the step than I did the previous day.
Any of us who have been through a big life experience—from moving away from home or buying a house to getting married or having a baby—know that we’re never going to feel 100% ready for what’s to come. We’ll always have lingering questions or concerns.
Yet many of those experiences come with deadlines that force us to go forward—ready or not. Our publishing career is often the same way.
Many steps involve questions and concerns that we won’t even know to ask until we’re in the thick of it. And we often need a deadline to force us to take the next step.
It’s uncomfortable to feel like we’re not ready for what’s to come. But that feeling will never go away, no matter how much we prepare—we know that from our other life experiences.
Sometimes we have to force ourselves to jump and trust that we’ll be okay. And as with many things in our life, after we jump, we might turn around and think, “Gee, that wasn’t so bad. What was I worrying about anyway?” *smile*
Do you have any additions to these “truths”? What makes you most uncomfortable about your writing or publishing path? Are you able to force yourself to move forward anyway? Do you have any tips for how to take that step? Or do you simply make yourself comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable?Pin It