What Are You Going To Do About It?
I fell into the comparison trap this week. You know the one (we've all been there at least, oh, a thousand times). I caught myself looking at the release strategies of authors I admire, who they use for their promotional blitzes, and how much they spend on advertising those first days.
And then I looked at my budget. My poor little creature, shaking in the corner as it peels another coin off its withering frame.
Predictably that led into way too many comfort snacks, an hour or two of lost time "browsing", and the inevitable negative self talk.
"You won't recover your career without money to back you."
"You don't match up to her anyway."
"This is an uphill battle, dude."
Blah, blah, fucking blah. 🙄
Yep. I caught myself before I got sucked into the sticky part of the self-pity vortex. I mentally bitch-slapped myself and started on the internal pep-talk.
"Wah, wah. I get it. You're frustrated. And fair enough, because things suck at the moment." [Cue me standing before my Mother Hubbard fridge, trying to figure out what to eat for lunch ... cheese toastie again it is ... ] "But feeling sorry for yourself ain't going to fix it. Right. So, we're pissed off. Good. Now what are you going to do about it?"
What. Are you. Going to do about it?
The essential question. And the only one I should be asking myself. The only real one that matters when you fall into the self-doubt trap.
The immediate thing I did? I took the rest of the day off. I'd written my daily word count goal, so I went out and ran errands and then came home to chill with the dog until school pick-up time. And then a beautiful thing happened. Because I allowed myself that time to rest, inspiration struck. Like hell I wanted to sit all afternoon and wallow in my meh-ness. Nope. I got off my arse and went back to the computer and wrote an introductory message that I could send to bloggers.
Because lack forces creativity.
So I have no budget for promo? Big deal. I went back to the drawing board and did something I should have years ago - I reached out for help. And of the blogs that I contacted this weekend, I have had an awesome response.
I set aside fear, and I won.
Introducing yourself and offering an ARC in exchange for release day posts is basics right? Sure. But after being at this gig for so many years, two things happened.
1) My default was to book paid promo. Which is cool. I love the promo companies I have worked with over the years. But, I had created a habit, and because of that, it made it hard for me to see a solution outside the box because, well, it's just what ya do, right?
2) My pride got in the way. I KNEW I needed to get onto creating my own master blog list, to nurture those relationships that I have, but I was too embarrassed to do it. That critical little voice in the back of my head said "You can't do that. If you reach out and ASK for help, then people will know that you need help because you failed to do it on your own. Other authors will know you aren't as successful as them." Gasp. [clutches at pearls] Heaven forbid anyone thought I wasn't earning bank after so many years at this. <- said with the utmost sarcasm.
I guess the guts of this week's post is that there's always a workaround. Sure, at times it isn't what we really want to do, but it's what we have - and so we work with it. There's no shame in going back to basics. There's no shame in saying, "You know what? I didn't do this right the first time, so I'm fixing it now." There's honour in being able to recognise your faults and bravery in being willing to work on them.
I could have easily felt sorry for myself and let my inner-critic convince me that my efforts are fruitless. But instead, I decided to check the facts:
1. My income increases monthly. I'm getting results.
2. This book isn't the last one I ever release, so there's no need to put enormous pressure on it.
3. I wrote 17,000 words this week.
4. I have a frickin' awesome career that gives me massive flexibility with the kids.
5. I love to write books, to create covers and graphics, and to learn.
One of my favourite quotes is:
“People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or ten years.” -J. C. R. Licklider
And I think this is such a reminder to be patient and to be consistent. Little, incremental efforts that in the long run, add up.
One day at a time.
One hour at a time.
One task at a time.
Change will happen.