It's simple logic, right? The more you do something, the better you get at it. And yet we often seem to forget it.
Time and again I see writers whine and moan and lament online. "I've done everything I could for my book (or books), I have self-published them EVERYWHERE and I have talked about them on social media EVERYWHERE and I have gone to EVERY BLOODY EVENT there is and I have done THIS and I have done THAT and still fucking nothing is happening!"
Dear writer, please stop beating yourself up. The thing is, there is always luck involved in any art making, books or whatever else. If your art is read (seen, heard, etc.) by the right person at the right time, it might just get the push it needs to be exposed to lots of people. It doesn't mean YOU have done something wrong. It doesn't mean YOU have to keep getting out of your skin to do EVERYTHING. Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out. And just keep writing more books. The time you're spending on doing EVERYTHING? It's better to be spent on writing more books. The more of them you write, the better your books will get. And while you're writing them, luck will either find you, or it won't. Be content with it. Be ready to be NEVER found. That's not why you write, is it? You write for yourself. Because if you write for fame and riches, you better quit NOW.
You know how I know? I'll tell you my story. I'm smack in the middle of this.
Janna is my 8th book. For the sake of comparison, if you're comparing my process to your process, Janna is really my 6th book, since Siren Suicides was really just one overblown story cut in 3 parts. So, I'm writing my 6th book and only now, note, ONLY NOW, after having written 5 other books over the period of about 4 years do I begin to feel like I know what I'm doing. Which is to say, I don't know what I'm doing and I'm finally okay with it because I know I will know as I write it. There is tremendous freedom that comes with this knowledge of not knowing. It can't be achieved any other way except by writing enough books for you to get there. Some of us are lucky and get there faster, and some get there slower. It's no fault of ours. We're all different. It will take as long as it will take. But it will take longer if you spend time on other shit instead of spending time on writing more books. You see what I'm saying? You can't do more than you can physically do. And you can't beat yourself up for not doing more and somehow not succeeding in your own eyes. You're already succeeding by writing. And your luck will either come, or it won't. So forget about doing EVERYTHING for the books you have already written and write more.
Let me share with you more freedoms that came to me while writing Janna (which I only started a few days ago and ALREADY I know it will be so much better than any of my previous books).
I no longer care how my book opens. I know that in the following drafts I will cut off the beginning to the point where the story really starts.
I no longer feel the need to explain everything. I explain nothing. Not even the gender or the age or the look of the characters unless I feel I want to know it myself. Notice: unless I feel I want to know it. I write for me. This alone is freeing as fuck.
I no longer fret about my daily word count or proper research or correct setting names or wide vocabulary or length of the story. I know that no matter how many words I write, my best writing is done in about 4 hours and anything over it I will rewrite anyway, and I wouldn't have known this without having the experience writing enough books. Also, research doesn't matter. Vocabulary doesn't matter. Whether it's going to be a novel or a novella doesn't matter. What matters is to write a good story.
I no longer worry about forgetting something and no longer spend hours writing down notes about bloody EVERYTHING in addition to writing. Because I have learned that I will remember what's important, and what I won't remember is not important anyway.
I even no longer worry about the order of scenes! I used to fret about the order of events and how they unfold, and where to put the backstory and where to cut it out, and now I know that I will rearrange the scenes many times in many drafts, and in the final draft they will settle into the right order, and when that happens, I will know it in my gut.
I no longer worry about ANYTHING. Well, this is a lie. I do worry still about lots of things, but those worries come and go and they no longer consume me or distract me from writing.
I no longer worry about money.
Here you are rolling your eyes. Well, I stopped, roll your eyes or not. It's not why I write. Money will either come, or it won't. Fuck it. I will write anyway. I will find a way to continue writing and making money with something else (like selling my kidneys or teeth or whatever) AND STILL KEEP WRITING. And this came to me after writing lots of books too, after hoping for sales and seeing some sales at some times and no sales at other times and fretting and freaking and then getting tired of fretting and freaking and finally letting go.
And if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT TOO.
Here is to writing more books!