Choices. We don’t always think about them consciously, but we make them many times within a day. The decision to read this post is a choice you made since you hit this page and right now you’re making another choice if you decide to stay with me.
We’ve come to writing through different avenues and have made various decisions on the way—whether it be choice of genre, publication route or marketing approach. If you’re struggling with venturing out and moving forward, here are some tips to get you on the road to change.
Know Your Strengths. It’s easy to get caught up in fads. When vampires and werewolves were the hot, new item on the block, many writers got in early and capitalized on the popularity of those stories. I suppose that worked for people with an understanding of fantasy and a handle on world building. Me? Didn’t bat an eyelid because I know what I write well. This is not meant to discourage you from exploring new boundaries, but if getting in on the bottom floor of a craze is going to take you away from something you do skilfully, I’d encourage you to build on what you know. You can get to the craze when you have time to spare and not act on it as a means of making immediate sales.
Weigh the Pros and Cons. What are the advantages and disadvantages to the steps you’re planning? It’s all well and good to follow your heart, but a list in black and white will help guide you toward making a choice that’s right for you. I’ve known people who shied away from making a pro and con list, but were grateful in the end to have made a decision based on head and not heart.
Share Your Vision. Is there a writer or two that you can bounce ideas off, or whose opinions you respect? A
shared in a challenge halved. It’s amazing how a discussion or an email can
help clarify your thoughts and enhance your vision.
Study the Landscape. The major life changes I’ve made came after I did plenty of research. When I started writing again in 2004, I began by studying the craft and my first sale was an article to a writing e-zine. My first love is romance and although I’ve read hundreds of books from that genre—you guessed it—I took time to learn about the structure of a romance novel before I submitted my first manuscript to a publisher. Self-publishing has given us a faster route to publication, but if our novels don’t follow some conventions, then they aren’t likely to enjoy success. I’m a firm believer in finding out the rules and knowing them before I attempt to break them.
Believe in Yourself. Every time we do something new, we face unique challenges, but nothing ventured is nothing gained. Recently, I’ve started taking keyboard lessons. It’s fun and challenging, but I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think I have a chance of playing competently someday. There will always be the voice of doubt whispering that maybe (insert-name-of-new-pet-project here) isn’t your thing, but with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, you can do anything.
Have you switched genres lately, just taken the plunge in self-publishing or are you looking at a new marketing angle? Do share your tips for dealing with change.