Friday, June 15, 2012

Are You a Writer? Then You Have to Be a Superhero!

I know most of you who visit this blog are writers. So of course YOU know what I'm talking about when I say people are always telling us writers what to do. Not in a mean way, of course, but they're saying being an author has changed. They're saying it's not just about writing anymore, it's about marketing and social networking, and pretty much being awesome! And YOU have to do it!

What do they tell us we need to do?
(oh, and keep in mind, this is all before even being published - more responsibilities are added after you get to that point)

Have a blog or a website or both

Join Twitter and use it!

Make a million friends on Facebook (okay, slight exaggeration on this one)

Follow agent/editor blogs

Follow trends in publishing

Read books on craft, books in your genre, books in other genres. Read, read, read!

Attend conferences

photo by HystericalMark
Enter contests

Try out other forms of social media or ways to connect with people in a professional way. Pinterest, Goodreads, Linkedin, and more!

Am I forgetting something? Oh, right. You actually have to write a book, too, in your spare time. Does this sound like a full-time job? It kind of is--and for most of us, this isn't even our full time job.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that you have to be a superhero. Or you have to have a superhero power, like not needing any sleep so you can have time for all of this.

But guess what? I'm here to encourage you! For real! If you're reading this, you're already doing something. If you write every once in awhile, you're doing something. Heading to Dallas for conference? Yay! Another check!

The reality is, we can't do everything! Or at least not for long. No matter how much time we think we have. When people tell us that writers are supposed to be doing it all, they're not trying to be mean. They're trying to prepare us. And that's a great thing. But I also think it's a great thing to encourage ourselves every once in awhile. To reward ourselves for what we're already doing, and remind ourselves we don't have to be doing everything on that list every minute of every day.

Pick of a few things each year or each month, and make them your goal. Focus on one or two forms of social media instead of seventeen. Reassess every few months to be sure you're making the best use of your time. Ultimately, though, make sure it's mostly about the writing. Don't stop writing!

And pray!

Truly, we can wear ourselves out doing everything WE think we should do. So if we're not certain, pray about it, and listen, and be prepared to hear that maybe we need to be doing more, or maybe, just maybe, doing less will result in more in the long run.

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by having to do it all? What's your least favorite thing about being a writer? Oh, and to stay encouraging, what's your favorite thing?


Cindy is a Colorado native, living near the mountains with her husband and three beautiful daughters. She writes contemporary Christian romance, seeking to enrich lives with her stories of faith, love, and a touch of humor.

To learn more about Cindy, visit her at her personal blog,


Unknown said...

Do I feel overwhelmed? Yes! My poor blog has suffered the consequences. I need to get busy on it.

Kathy Bosman said...

Thank you so much! Just what I needed to hear! Julie, I have the same problem - I haven't written a blog post since April! And I haven't written for about three weeks. Can I remember how to do it? I've been busy editing a book for a fellow Christian writer in Australia and wow, what an amazing and fun experience that was! I learnt so much from it about grammar and that because I had to check that I wasn't editing her book wrong. And promoting - well, that's the real hard part of writing. It's so hard to find that fine line between begging your facebook friends to buy your books and getting some genuinely interested people. And of course, God and family come first and sometimes writing has to take a back seat. Why should my kids grow up feeling like author-orphans?

Anonymous said...

Cindy, what a great post. You're right--I'm not Super Woman. I just need to remind myself of this fact. Often.

I love writing and brainstorming with others about stories. I love seeing a scene come to life on my screen.

I have yet to brave starting a blog, but I know I'll need to sooner rather than later. It can be discouraging to try and keep up with all the publishing trends.

Thanks for the reminder to not stress about doing everything all the time. :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Julie, the blogs are sometimes the hardest to keep up with, aren't they? But it's okay to break from things and migrate toward more important priorities. I look forward to reading more on you blog soon! :)

Kathleen, all valid points. Sometimes it feels like the more you do, the more you realize you have to do. Editing that book sounds like a wonderful experience, and if you were learning in the meantime, then clearly you're still growing as a writer which will only help you further down the road.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi Jeanne! It's so hard not to stress about doing it all sometimes, right? That will be exciting when you start your blog - I bet we can all learn a lot from you. As far as the rest, however, I see your name out there so you're already doing great!

Lenni said...

Yes, I feel stressed. I work full time, have a kid, keep the house... It's a wonder I have time to put pen to paper at all. =_=

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Lenni, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the stress can be overwhelming. There are so many of us here who have kids or a full time job (or both) outside of writing. I guess that's why other writers are often our best supporters. They understand!

It's great you're still finding time to write. That's one of the most important things! Have a great weekend!

Unknown said...

Oh yeah, I get that stressed, "I just want to write" feeling now and then. I think sometimes we just have to focus--hone in on the things we can do and give ourselves the freedom to let go of the things we can't.

And then, there's the encouraging fact that we've got a spiritual Superhero in the form of God who never leaves us to do this crazy writing thing on our own. :)

My least favorite thing, I guess, would be trying to balance my day job with my writing dream. That's tough.

My favorite, the thrill of accomplishment when I finish a book or even just write a fun blog AND the amazingly wonderful friends I've met along the writing journey. (And also, I'm wacko, but I LOVE revising. :) )

Beth K. Vogt said...

I see the problem now: I need a cape!
Fun and oh so true blog post, Cindy.
Least favorite thing -- but valuable nonetheless -- trying to tame social media.
Favorite thing: connecting with other writers -- and readers.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Melissa, you put all of that so well! I completely agree. And even though the journey can be difficult at times, it certainly is rewarding, isn't it?

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Lol, Beth! I would love to see that! As for connections, I totally agree. I LOVE those connections :) Have a super weekend!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I've been overwhelmed! Twitter was the toughest to wrangle! The rewards are the valuable friendships I've made! :)

Glad you said Pray! That's truly the key!

Ruth Douthitt said...

Oh yes...STRESS!! We also must be able to leap tall buildings, stop bullets with our teeth, fight crime and DEAL WITH OUR EDITORS!!!

That's the toughest part of all. Ha ha!

Great post. I know someday, Lord willing, I will be able to write full time. Can't wait for that day.

Praying hard!

Lindsay Harrel said...

There is a lot to do...I just want to be able to write more and more quickly. It's taken me nearly a year on this book. That seems like too long...but I also work full time. So yeah, that's really hard when I'm at my job and just want to be home writing.

So, I pretty much agree with everything Melissa said above! :P

Great post, Cindy!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Hi Jessica! Oh, Twitter - it scares me :) I'm glad you got it figured out, though. Yep, gotta have that prayer.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Ruth, I like that! Stop bullets with our teeth :) Yes, writing full time would be a tremendous blessing. Will send up a prayer for you!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Lindsay, I think that's a great accomplishment to work full time and still finish a book in a year. And now that you're learning what does and doesn't work for you, you probably will start writing faster and faster. Hope you have a super weekend!

Joanne Sher said...

THANK YOU! I was ready to toss BOTH my MSs in the proverbial bonfire just a couple days ago. Soo much to learn. So much to do.

Thank you for giving me this encouragement.