I was reading an article by The Editor Devil who just (finally) finished her book. She was sharing some of the lessons learned in the process—most of which I completely agree with. Reading her article sent me down memory lane remembering what I had to go through each time I released a book and what I am about to go through again!
Her first lesson was “it’s never been a better time to be an author”—this had me cracking up! She is right, but I would describe it as “there is never a good time to be an author, but it’s something you should do anyway.” People often think that they have nothing to write or don’t know where to begin, but in the end, when it’s all said and done the words you write are actually the least important thing. The most important thing is your ability to survive the process and receive the feedback on what ultimately becomes your child.
Her next lesson was “fear is harder to swallow than failure,” and boy is that true! The entire process of putting together a book is about managing the level of fear you have that day. What should I say, how should I say it, will I offend someone, how far should I go, just to name a few are the doubts that creep into an author’s mind.
Then, let’s not forget the first time that you share what you have written with someone! That is sheer hell! Mind you, it’s not the feedback that is hell, it’s the waiting for the feedback that is sheer torture and you find yourself wondering and seriously considering why you did this to yourself. And then there is the opening of the door of judgment! Once you release your content, your friends, family, and colleagues will want to support you and will read what you have written. Sounds great right? Nope! Because they will get to see another side of you—a side that they may know something about, but the written word reveals more than spoken words ever can.
And then there is a third big lesson that I learned in the process of releasing my books—regardless of how efficient you are, others will always slow down your progress. This isn’t meant to be mean, but instead it’s a realization of reality and a test of your patience (which is not my strength). All of the anxiety that you feel about managing your fear from day to day makes any delay seem 10 times longer than what it actually is.
I remember the first time I released my Contractors: Doing it Right book asking for feedback before I did the final release. I sent it out around 6 pm asking people to review and provide feedback. I then got up, went to the bathroom, got a drink, and returned to my computer to check my email wondering why no one had responded. I didn’t seriously expect anyone to respond that quickly but that was the beginning of a very long two weeks.
What are some lessons that you learned?