Picture this: You’re sitting around relaxing, scrolling through Instagram, when suddenly you see a post from a writer friend: “So excited! Just signed on with my dream agent! Woo-hoo!!!” Instantly, your stomach drops and you feel slightly nauseous, and then two seconds later you feel guilty as hell. There’s no denying it, you’re jealous, even though you wish so badly that you weren’t. You genuinely DO want to be happy for your friend. But if that’s true, then why does her writing success feel so awful?
Then, you try to find something to distract yourself. You check your email and find a newsletter from another writer, someone you don’t know personally but whom you admire. Their latest book just won a prestigious award, and again, you get that sinking feeling in your gut. You’ve been dreaming of such an honor for years, and yet, here you still are, slogging away on a half-finished novel, with no end in sight, much less any awards coming your way.
And again, you feel that awful mix of envy and shame that just makes you want to crawl into a hole and never come out again.
Writing a memoir is one of those things that sounds like it should be easy. You’re just telling a story about your life experiences, right?
Writing memoir can actually be quite difficult, especially if you’re focusing on life experiences that were painful or traumatic, or may even be hard for other people to believe. Much of the time, if a writer has never delved into writing memoir before, they assume that they just need to start at the beginning, move through events as they happened, and add clarifying details for the reader all along the way.
We’ve all heard the advice that building your social media platform as a writer is super important, and we all know that we’re supposed to have a strong presence on social media if we ever want to catch the eye of new readers. This holds true whether we’ve decided on independent publishing, traditional publishing, or we’re still researching publishing options. The moment you start looking around online at what you’re supposed to be doing as a writer who is serious about launching their books into the world, pretty much the first thing you see is: Start building your social media platform now.
This is good advice, but it also falls short of what most writers need. Outside of cultivating a “strong” presence on social media, what else do writers need to consider when building that presence? Here are 3 things that I’d wish I had known when I was just starting out, and that I also believe most writers overlook when building their social media platform.
“So, what do you do?” is a common question in society that makes most creative people cringe. Whether you’re socializing at a dinner party with friends or you’re meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, the “what do you do?” question is one that we’ve all come to know and expect, and that fills us with dread every time.
For most people, answering this question is easy. They give the person their job title and maybe the company they work at and then the conversation moves on. But for creative people, it’s very likely that their official job title does not match what they are most passionate about in life, and their job title is not the work they truly identify with on a deeper level. So, the job title they have at the moment feels irrelevant, and mostly impersonal. It doesn’t say anything about who they really are.
We all have good writing days and bad writing days. If you’re a writer who writes even somewhat regularly, you know that’s just the way it goes. But sometimes, it seems we imperceptibly move into a place with our writing when it’s not just a bad writing day that’s getting us down, it’s more like a persistent, low-key feeling of unease and anxiety about writing overall. When this undercurrent of unhappiness becomes the status quo in our writing life, then we feel like every writing day is a bad day.
This can easily occur when we place way too much pressure and expectation on our writing. For some writers, this happens constantly whether or not they’re sharing their writing with anyone else. However, for most writers, this most often happens when we’re making our writing public online, or we’re hoping to get accepted by a publication or an agent. Suddenly, we’re in a position of having our writing judged, and possibly found wanting, and it feels awful.
The fear of judgment is an obvious (and very real) thing for a lot of writers and so, of course, some writers get triggered when they put themselves out there on the internet or submit their work to outside parties, but there’s something else that is ALSO usually going on in tandem with the fear of judgement, and that’s attachment to outcome.