Taking the Plunge to Self-Publish

It has been a long road since I started writing my novel Blood Feud. The journey began in April of 2012. I remember it well — a month of straight writing where the ideas just flowed like water. They pooled onto the page with little effort as months of thinking about my story and characters finally found a permanent place on the page. My story flourished but my poor family suffered from neglect. So at the end of the month and about 50,000 words later, I took a break. A few weeks later I came back to my marvelous work of art to realize everything I had written was total crap. And that pretty much sums up the next four years. Awesome spurts of writing where words flowed and family suffered just to end up with… yep you guessed it, more crap.

That my friends is the way of the writer as I am sure some of you are quite familiar with.

But something happened in my fifth year of writing. During my sixtieth (and really that’s not much of an exaggeration) rewrite of Blood Feud, the crap fell away and a good story finally started to form. At least to the point where I felt confident enough to send my work to a professional author, editor, and friend (Michael Knost) so he could tell me it was crap too. And to my surprise, he said it was a pretty awesome story.

Crap, what do I do now?

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Writing, a Never Ending Journey of Exploration and Learning

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” — E.L. Doctorow

If someone told me as I first started writing about nine years ago that my writing would be a never ending journey, I’m not sure I would have set out on that particular path. Granted, most people start writing for a reason, which usually includes the buzzing of character voices and ideas that won’t shut up. That was my case, and even with that warning I probably wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. I find writing to be the only way to get the voices to shut the hell up (yeah, that makes me sound pretty certifiable huh?). But it’s the idea of the never ending that might make most people bulk, though I have learned since then that never ending can be a good thing.

When I started writing, I didn’t even know how to put a decent sentence together. Of course back then, I thought I could do at least that much, but I was young, delusional, and a little stupid. I don’t even dare look back at my writing from the very beginning because I’d cringe way too much. It was embarrassing. Really it was.

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Publication: Why the rush?

There are two kinds of writers; the ones who are published and the ones who are not. The ones that are published are constantly looking for new things to write about and launch into the world (they make it look so easy). Then you have the writers who aren’t published, looking at the published authors and saying, “that’s what I want.” So these unpublished or newly published writers race to break into the field, because it’s what’s expected of them. 

What is the first thing that people say when you tell them you’re a writer? I usually get, “Make sure to remember me when you become the next Steven King (or whoever)?” Or if you talk to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in awhile, “So when’s that big novel coming out? Did you get it published yet?” It’s all about the rush to be published to get your name out there, because if you can’t justify your writing by publication, then are you really a writer at all?
Interesting that writing has such a push to get results when other pastimes don’t (usually) get that sort of attention. Do your friends ask when you’ll be the next Emerald or Michael Jordon? Do they wonder when you’ll try out for an Olympic team or become the next Picasso? Why the rush?
Why can’t you take the time to make your writing better? What’s the big rush? Do you really want to look back five years from now and say, “What the hell was I thinking publishing that?” Wouldn’t it be better to slow down and make sure you get it right? Good writing cannot be rushed and great writing can only happen when you let it. Just because the piece is “okay” doesn’t mean it should be rushed to the presses for the world to see. Do you really want to be known as an author with just okay stories- or worse?
There are some people (and I know this from experience) that have stories they’re just tired of writing on. A burning desire deep within to get something published makes the rash decision that the piece is “good enough” and sends it out knowing the story could be better- much better. Why the rush?
I have come to the belief that all good things come to those who wait. Those who take the time to make themselves great instead of putting stuff out there and then regretting it. Once a piece of writing is published, it’s out there- forever. There is no going back, no do overs. It’s immortalized in black and white, so why run the risk of having a black mark on your writing resume when you can take your time. Why the rush?

You might be thinking, “Yeah, everyone thinks that way about their work.” Maybe, but wouldn’t it be better knowing that your best foot was put forward, instead of a hurried rush to get to the finish line? I have certainly felt that way about some of my work and have decided that my time means more to me than that and I want do something more worthwhile.

Then you’re thinking, “But if you wait until that happens, you’ll never get anything published.” Maybe, maybe not, but again do you really want something that you aren’t that proud of immortalized in print when you know deep down that you can do better? Why the rush?
Why is it so important to be published right now? Unlike many things in life, writing is one of the areas that you have complete control over. You control when you writer, what you write and what you let the world see. Next time that burning desire comes over pushing to send a story out before it’s really ready, just ask yourself… Why the rush? Why not spend a little extra time getting it right?