I removed myself from a ton of Facebook groups recently. No, you didn’t read that wrong. (If you are one of those group’s owners and noticed, thank you and please know it’s me, not you. You’re doing everything right.) As far as I can tell, such self-imposed isolation from all industry kerfluffle is tantamount to career suicide, because all of those groups contain the Ultimate, Immutable, and Only Keys to Success in Writering.
(Writering is totally a verb, and it’s not the same thing as writing. Hang with me here.)
The industry is shouting at us that if we want to succeed at writering, we need to follow this model, promo at this interval, place ads at this place, hire these professionals to package our book, and network at these-and-only-these conventions and shindigs. There can be only one (way)! So does leaving those groups mean I
- don’t want to work hard? (nah)
- think maybe my books aren’t good? (probably I don’t do this, at least not every day)
- have some other, magical, better method of reaching $100k in 13Days? (God no)
In truth, it means only one thing: there is more than one way to succeed as a writer. In fact, there are infinite ways, for infinite individuals. So when somebody says that you have to write 1,000 words a day or wrangle 1,500 pre-orders or nudge 200 people into posting reviews or any other numbers, you have my permission, as a writer-er, to give them the middle finger.
Writerize (aw hell, make up all the words) the way it works FOR YOU. Don’t chase somebody else’s method, especially if you aren’t hitting it and as a result you’re feeling like a failure. Stop. It.
The wisest person I know asked me earlier today to focus on two questions and keep asking them until I can answer myself:
- What if success is simply answering the question “Are you enjoying your craft” in the affirmative?
- What is the minimum that would make your fear-self able to release the fear and live in the joy?
See, I don’t think Facebook groups or self-help books or marketing videos are going to help me answer these questions. Your mileage may vary.