It was November 2010. Maybe it was a dark and stormy night, I don’t recall. But I was going through a dark night of the soul, that’s for sure.
You know, a proper dark night of the soul, when you feel your chest being crushed under the weight of so many dying dreams that nothing can offer even a bit of comfort.
When the usual hack of, “Well, others have lost empires,” doesn’t help at all.
That’s when I found out about NaNoWriMo. I found out that I could self-publish stories. On Amazon. And sell those stories to people for money, which I could then use to purchase various goods that are needed for one’s survival.
I thought it to be the best thing ever, and so I dropped out of college and started punching those damn keys.
There were a couple of things that I hadn’t thought through though:
I had never written a novel.
I had never written a novel in English.
I had no idea what it took to actually self-publish a book.
I had no one to sell the damn thing to.
But, as I’m so fond of saying, we sometimes need a lot of courage to do something. Other times, we just need to be so dumb that we have no idea what we’re getting ourselves into.
Many people want to write a book at some point in their lives, and quite a few of them actually manage to punch the damn keys long enough to finish writing a first draft.
Some of them even go through all the steps towards self-publishing their book, from editing to formatting to designing a cover for the book.
However, the vast majority of them won’t even sell 100 copies of their book.
We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of hours of work, writing, editing, proofreading, doing research, learning about marketing, social media, working towards building an audience on a blog, developing a newsletter…
Here’s the bitter truth: it takes a village to help you self-publish a book.
Nine years ago I launched this blog. And each year, for the past nine years, I’ve been celebrating, congratulating myself, offering folks all sorts of discounts, free downloads, and the likes.
I think I wrote and published well over a million words by now. Probably even more. Who knows? Who cares?
After all, the blank page that I have to fill right now with words doesn’t care about my previous articles, short stories, or novels. All it cares is that I transform its emptiness into something worth someone’s time.
This is what being creative means: to turn the white page, the blank canvas, the empty document into something by sheer power of will, which is, at times at least, quite a painful process.
And don’t believe anyone who tells you that being creative can be effortless. They are trying to sell you something, whether it’s an e-book or e-course.
After nine years as a full-time blogger, and sixteen as a writer, I can tell you that there’s no shortcut for hard work.
That’s why today I’m sharing with you nine tips that… well… I’m not even going to pretend these tips are going to make the process effortless, but they are going to give you a bit of clarity, which I found to be extremely useful, especially when you’d much rather bang your head against your keyboard than struggle to string words together in a coherent manner.