Find Your Bliss
WHAT IS REWARDING ABOUT WRITING A BOOK?
Today’s post is honest, guys! I'll be sharing of a journal entry and my thoughts behind it about my view from the author hilltop--or the valley. (It varies.) I assumed this post would be aimed at published authors who were struggling to remember their “WHY”, and it is, but as I type these words I realize that a lot of you could be wondering about your WHY in any variety of places. Maybe in your current job or your current aspirations to become a writer. Without further adieu, I submit to you my thoughts.
What prompted this entry was a goal-setting workshop I took last year. My author bestie Lauren Layne gifted it to me and I will forever be grateful. It radically changed my life, and this year when the Holiday Council rolled around, I signed up immediately. 3 weeks, $49. WOW.
To give you a brief example of how it changed my life, one of my goals for 2016 was to “Radically change my physical environment.” I didn’t know what that meant last December when I jotted it down, but come summer 2016, I was packing all my belongings out of our 1957 brick home that we’d stayed in for 14 years and relocating them to my 2000 two-story brick lake house.
Radical change, I love you.
(Details can be found about the Stratejoy Holiday Council at this link.)
I saw a prompt from Stratejoy on Facebook this morning and it said, “How can you finish 2016 strong?” Much to my surprise I had pretty much written off the rest of 2016! So I dug out my goals for Quarter 4 to review what I said I wanted to accomplish for this year. Thanksgiving and Christmas may be around the corner, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop pursuing my dreams, right?
One of my goals was to FIND MY BLISS. Yes, I’m living a dream. Yes, I love my job. I love writing so much it surpasses understanding! I talk to other writer friends about this all the time. We love what we do even though at times it’s disheartening, infuriating, or just plain unsatisfying. So when I sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard, the real question is WHY AM I DOING IT? and the answer isn't BECAUSE I'M ON DEADLINE.
That's only part of the reason... there's a reason I started. What was it?!
This is sounding deep, but I swear, it’s universal and totally relatable. Every good thing you have is a result of saying you wanted it in the first place. That new house. Being debt-free. Your husband. Your three kids. The dream job. It’s important once we have what we want, to remember WHY we wanted it.
What I find rewarding about writing a book
(in order of process from writing to publishing):
- Writing a really sexy scene.
- Trying something new for me: a wounded vet, an abused hero, a rock star, a kidnapper, a haunted house, a Christmas book.
- Cover reveals and back cover copy reveals—photoshoots and models. Anything that turns the book into a physical, visual entity, I love.
- ARCs. That first look at the completed book. Bonus if it’s paper and I can hold it.
- Finding my books in stores. Shelfies. Signing.
- READERS. No sweeter words exist than “I loved your book!” I endeavor to make you smile, laugh, cry, hope, and in general just feel good.
- I wouldn’t write books for myself. It’s fun to create, but unless it’s shared, for me it loses its shine. Sharing is everything. Having a shared experience with readers is paramount to my happiness in this business.
- Newsletter! I so love creating and sending a beautiful newsletter.
- Website graphics and creating a pretty blog. Links, banners, and even a little HTML turn this nerd girl on. 🤓
So after I wrote that list, I started feeling some of that elusive bliss I thought was missing. Then I asked another question: What didn't I write down?! That's telling, isn't it? What doesn't make me smile and feel good? I’m labeling these as…
You gotta do it, but don’t wanna do it.
- Social media. Coming up with new content and scheduling is hard, guys. 😒
- Giveaways. I don’t mind giving away my books, but there is a reason I hire an assistant to handle that part! The posting, scheduling, mailing… it’s not why I write books at all.
- Marketing and advertising. YUCK. Necessary, but definitely sucks the wind from my sails.
- Amazon rankings and bestseller lists. How about that??? I have put “becoming a NYT/USA Today Bestseller on my goals every single time I write the word GOALS on a sheet of paper. And yet when I wrote down what I loved, it didn’t make the cut. That’s eye-opening! I’d love to hit a list, don’t get me wrong, but when I sit and write a book, I’m not thinking “this one is gonna hit!” I’m thinking “I hope readers think this is as funny/sexy/charming as I do.”
Once I had those two lists, I reviewed them and thought about it for a while. In a flash of insight, I knew exactly how to find my bliss in my beloved career.
Ready for this profoundness??
Fill your workday 80% full of the blissful and
delegate or relegate the other 20% to the challenges.
Simply spending time dedicated to that which I love makes the challenges worth it in the end. Because face it, no experience with a job (or person or activity) is 100% blissful at all times--no matter how great they are. There are always necessary challenges.
Life is challenging.
(Speaking of, I realized I forgot to include tallying my mileage and gathering receipts for tax time. DOUBLE YUCK.) 😝
For those of you wanting to implement this strategy, keep in mind I said 80% of your time spent not 80% of your 24 hours. If you are writing a book for publishing, for example, you may only spend one hour a day on the process. At which point you’d want to spend 80% of that hour doing what you love (writing) and 20% of that hour doing the challenging thing (crafting a query letter for an agent).
For more writing tips, be sure to check out my Writing Tips on the blog.
Can you relate?! You don't have to pour your guts out like I did, but I'd love to hear from you. What is challenging you right now? Did you find some hope to overcome it?