Setting Self Doubt on Fire: 5 Step plan for success
Following on from last weeks post, I have decided to come up with a plan. A plan of action that will help me get battle ready for this fight. So for all those who have issues with Mr Self Doubt, and lost in limbo unsure of what you are meant to do, this post is for you.
I have come up with 5 steps; yes, the 5 points are back. These points will, hopefully help you beat Mr Self Doubt and achieve your writer goal.
- Get a publishing history: I read somewhere, can’t remember where, that publishers don’t necessarily like to take a gamble on unknown authors. Whether that’s true or not I’m not sure, but what I do know is that, a publishing history won’t hurt, and it could give your submission a better chance. Why? Imagine this, you have two applicants for a job, one has work experience the other hasn’t. They are both skilled to the same level, which one will you choose to give the job to. I would say that you were leaning towards the experienced one. Now I’m not saying that will always be the case, but from my life experiences, so far (especially job wise) that has been the case. A publishing history isn’t only important for success with a novel, it will also prepare you for the harsh world that a writer drops themselves in because I’m sure before you get that publishing history you will have received many rejections, but those rejections (if they offer feedback) can help to improve your work.
- Build a fan base: This follows on from step 1. Publishers are interested in authors that can sell. So if you come with not only a publishing history but also a fan base who will buy your novel that’s better than someone who will struggle to sell books because no one knows about them. This is however, my thinking and not scientifically proven, unknown authors have been published even without fans or a publishing history, but it doesn’t hurt to have some. How do you build a fan base? Well having a blog or website, which readers can go, to see your other work, and keep up to date with your latest news is a start. You can also self publish your stories on one of those short story sites, such as Shortbread stories. I’ve published on this site, and I got some helpful feedback (folks were also kind).
- Put self-doubt and fear aside: We all know that once you are consumed with doubt and fear you either stop submitting or even worse writing. This is very counterproductive; you can’t be a successful author if you’re hiding behind the sofa with a bag over your head. When you get a knock back you just got to rise up and attack (not the editor or publisher lol), but throw your story back out there, and if it boomerangs back and hits you in the head just tear it apart and start again.
- Create the best novel you can: Not every novel idea will be the right one, deciding on your first novel is tricky you have loads of ideas swimming around, short stories begging to be made longer. While you have all these ideas, some will work and some won’t. To find the answer you need to make time to explore these ideas further. What I did before deciding on the idea to work with is list all the ideas I had, and communicated with the characters. It may sound crazy, but the main characters from the novel I’m working on came to me they said, “We got a great story to tell, so you had better write it.” What did help clarify though was sharing my idea with my pal, and hearing myself explain the story, I realised that all the pieces were fitting together. So I do encourage sharing your ideas with someone you trust.
- Keep writing and keep the faith: This is possibly the most important step that links all the others together. You need to keep that end goal clear in your mind; if it’s you dancing around with your hardback copy of your book then you keep that at the front of your mind. Gaining self-belief is difficult especially after many knock backs, but you will need that self-belief and determination if you ever want your dreams to come true.
So there you have it 5 steps, you might have your own steps or wish to do 10, as long as it helps you reach your goal then it’s all good. I’ve decided to create a poster of the 5 steps, the best place to put it would be on the ceiling above my bed, but because I’m short sighted, it will just have to be on the wall.
So all that’s left for me to say is, go follow that dream. As Ice Cube says, “You can do it if you put your back into it.” I’m sure he’s not referring to determination and hard work, but hey, it still applies.