Sometimes “The End” is just the beginning.
When you’re self-publishing, this is especially true.
After the last words have echoed ’round your head, struck a chord in your heart, and flowed through your fingers, you rejoice in reaching a milestone. The impossible has been accomplished! “I Could Have Danced All Night” is setting the rhythm as you brush your teeth after a hard evening’s type. The first draft is finished, and you feel like You Really Are a Writer.
Then come the edits, and probably a few rounds of them. You have major work to do at beta readers’ suggestions. You wonder, “How can Chapter 10 possibly work out if I change this sequence? How can I [insert quandary] without slowing down the pace?”
Once these hurdles are in the past, the cover has to be designed, the interior formatted (see Kelsey’s great post on this here) and the whole project finished off for printing. Then you remember you’re doing the marketing too. What if nobody outside your circle of friends buys the books?
Oh, can you afford the expedited international shipping to get your own copies before Christmas?
And that’s when you start to wonder if writing should have stayed a hobby, and whether you should put the muse back in its box and work in a coffee shop until you can figure out what to do next. If that’s you, I have a few suggestions.
1) STOP! Pause your track of thought. You can’t give up simply because the going is tough. Like any activity worth doing, writing gets seriously challenging at times. This is good. It reminds us that we’re not superheroes who can do everything on our own. We need the Lord’s hand on our hand, His will in every matter, and His blessing on every endeavour. A rough road can very effectively bring our eyes back to Him. :)
2) Count your blessings. Has a particular verse been an encouragement to you lately? Has someone offered to help, or taken a kindly interest in your projects? Have you done something for another and been blessed through giving?
3) Give thanks! Gratitude is a great way to be inspired—and it’s obedience in action. (1 Thess. 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”)
4) Go ice-skating. Or take a walk when the frost glitters and leaves crackle underfoot. Fresh air and exercise can do wonders. Perhaps a break and a change of scenery will give you renewed energy, hope, and enthusiasm for the story God has given you to tell.
5) Ask for the Lord’s guidance. Are the challenges there to build character in you, or are they a signal that you should change direction? There’s only one way to find out. Pray about it and seek wise counsel. Remember, it’s all for His glory—whether you sell one thousand copies or only one to the neighbors.
These are a few ideas—I’m sure there are many more to add. What would you put down if compiling your own “Things to do Before Giving Up” list?
Happy December, and may you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Caitlin R. Hedgcock is a Christian author who aspires to use storytelling for God’s glory. She lives with her family in England's picturesque county of Hertfordshire. Visit her blog or Facebook page to find out more.
P.S. Prisoner of the Pyrenees is finished! Click here for quotes I couldn't wait to share. :)