When I first began My Weird Indie Publishing Project, I had the intention to write and publish three books in a year, a non-fiction series I called Burnout to Bliss. I got the idea from Sean Plat and Johnny B. Truant who shared their journey to “six figures” in their Bootcamp for Smarter Artists. Of course, they were writing fiction, not the impossible-to-sell memoir (unless you happen to be a celebrity or a well-connected person in the publishing business).
I knew my project was different, and so was my purpose that began as a “legacy for my nieces” but which morphed into other things along the way. Generally, no matter which purpose prevailed, I perceived it as a learning experience, similar to the way I learned to play tennis: “show up and pay attention.”
Drafting part of Book 1 during NaNoWriMo added fuel to my focus, proving I could write fast. I quickly learned that morning was my best time to work and refused to schedule any kind of appointment or meeting during my writing time, much less pick up the phone. My focus grew intensely: shadows of the laser-beam attention I had as a workaholic, the main character in all three books.
Everything went as expected (including the challenging experience with the print formatter). I kept my head down, focused on what I wanted (to publish a trilogy in a year), and everything I needed seemed to appear in perfect time. I believe we attract whatever we need by our intention and action to express it – that the Universe will supply direction, resources, etc. – if we’re clear on what we want, and if we step out, take action in that direction.
I was a writing machine and getting closer to my goal.
But the instant I published Book 3 in the series, my “real life” as a property manager snatched me away and became my sole focus for the next month. And when that drama resolved, I suddenly realized what it cost me to be so intensely focused on one project for so long: I had abandoned everything else but my cats!
It felt as if I had been off-planet for that time; I had to re-discover my environment and the rest of my life. And I felt overwhelmed by all the “Things I Must Do.” All those books and courses I acquired to improve my performance as an indie author, the once-routine housework, ongoing “clear clutter” routine, and my ongoing DIY health project to be the best I can be. Poor Kali, my cat that fetches, had even stopped bringing me her favorite mousey to throw for her.
Trying to do everything by myself was a total failure. I couldn’t figure out how to copy and paste my content into the book templates for formatting that I had bought for this experience. I didn’t know enough about book cover art to create my own covers, even with the special kit I purchased. And so, my DIY project…wasn’t. I had to enlist others I had not worked with before, and that had a stressful impact on my schedule.
It’s true that some “indies” don’t do it all by themselves. They have families and friends who all work together as a tribe to create, publish, and market their books. At the very least, they have a family who shares the load of “life” – income, household duties, maintenance, etc. I do not. I’m speaking as the isolated indie who has been going it alone – life and passion (indie author), perhaps just as you are.
Fortunately, I’ve come to realize that speed isn’t everything. In fact, it is not something I want in my life. I have therefore reset my intention as “Live a balanced life,” including all those “life” requirements (take care of myself and my property) as well as writing and professional development. It won’t go as fast, like writing and publishing a trilogy in one year, because everything takes time and we all get the same amount: twenty-four hours/day.
Even so, I pledge now never again to revisit my former workaholic life for anything, especially not for my love of writing, which would ultimately die from the unbelievable stress of such a silly venture.
Instead, I will savor the process with full confidence that “all is in perfect order” because it’s the journey, not the outcome that is important, and I’ll keep the faith that “all my needs will be met even before I realize I have them.” Those were a few of the lessons learned from the experience related in the Burnout to Bliss series. And the Cosmic Thump, the shock when all the drama ended, was a reminder to practice my chosen path of “Love.” Someone once said, “Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
I definitely prefer to love what I’m doing! Good planning will help to ensure that perspective. And there definitely will be no more races with younger guys to publish three books in a year that I haven’t yet written!
How about you? How are you handling the demands of your (indie) life?
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi