Monday 8 April 2024

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Keeping Healthy Practices


One thing I learned very early on in my career was that there were many ways to be an indie author, and a writer. Some of them worked for a lot of people, and others just didn't. Some were 'healthy' ways, and some led the way to burnout, stress, and just all round not having a good time. It took me a very very long time, more time that it should have, to realise that I wanted to base my way of working around the healthy ways and not the ones that left me in literal tears, pulling my hair out, and just never finishing things and stressed to the max.

Now I know it's not as simple as me just saying that, one thing that is great about writers, and humans in general, is we all work differently. We all have different thought processes, different ways of doing things, and different things that will trigger stress, anxiety, and of course the worst one, burnout. So I know it's not a case of me telling anyone to do it my way and all will be sorted, because for a lot of people, my way is not healthy, and that's okay. It's all about what works for you.

I think it's very important to keep in mind that however you personally work, there will be people who approach things in a similar way, but no one will write and schedule and plan and all the rest in the exact same way as you do, and that's okay. That's normal. It's all about keeping that in mind, trying this and that, lifting parts of someone else's way of doing things, and combining it with a completely different way, and all of that trial and error to get to the point where you find the way that works for you.

I'm not just talking about the writing here either. That is a part of being an author, indie or trad, but it's not the only part. There's the marketing, and the promo, and the editing, and revising, and all the other many things that authors have to do to keep on top of things. I know recently there's been a lot of the us and them talk when it comes to indie and traditional, but for me, they've never been my competition, or my enemy. I went one path, they went the other, and it's all good.

So I'd advise that you leave that kind of thinking at the door, and focus more on how you can all work together. I have good friends who are trad pub, and good friends who are indie, and working together allows for us all to hone our craft and all of us to help bounce off each other and the like. It's not a competition where we have to 'defeat' or 'win'. There are more than enough readers to go around, and that's the beauty of publishing.

But back to the healthy practices! I'm not going to go into how I work, it's something I've talked about a lot before, and it feels like it would be repeating myself to the detriment of the people reading this. I will say that you have to be careful not to overload yourself when it comes to figuring out how you do this. Whether that's working out your own kind of writing routine, or your own way of doing revisions and edits, or even how you choose to approach the marketing beast, everyone had to have their own way to do that, and again, it's normal.

But when you're first starting to dip your toe into the indie life, you might find that you're kinda overwhelmed, there's the covers to deal with, the many editors to find, and then formatting and promo, and it's all just a bit of a lot. It's okay to need to take your time and wok slow. While there's a lot of talk of releasing a lot at once, or in quick succession, it doesn't have to be like that. Yes, it will take longer to build up your readership, but you are not in a race with anyone but yourself. So make sure you take care of you as well, because other wise, what's the point? If you burnout, that's gonna be a whole chunk of time when you can't do anything and it's not going to help matters.

So if I had to nail it down to one of two pieces of wisdom and advice, it would be start slow, take lots of breaks, and make sure you listen to your body. If you need to take breaks, that's okay. If you need to switch gears midway through, also okay. The most important thing in this process is making sure you stay as healthy as possible, and as able to continue as possible. That's only going to come from taking care of you.

I know that for some people there's this rush to publish and get the readers, and that's great, but rushing through just leaves you open for mistakes that might end up damaging you more than they help. Take it from someone who did make those mistakes when they first started, you don't want to be taking literal years to try and rebuild from the ground up.

Remember to breathe, remember to give yourself space, and time, and keep writing.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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