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Your Own Advocate...

This entry is for everyone who read the previous post, and thought to themselves, “I want to be a published author,” or “I want to make a living at writing.” For everyone who enjoys this as a hobby but has no greater aspiration, this applies less to you, but perhaps you are the friend in question.

First a hard truth.

There is an interesting reality which has occurred to me over the last few years about writing. Unless you are already very famous, and have a very loyal fanbase, the odds are very good nobody deeply cares about your book.

I don’t mean this to be negative, or pessimistic. It is as far as I can tell just a reality. People have their own lives, with their own hopes, aspirations, dreams, busy activities, demands, work, etc. etc. etc. They care, because they are your friends, your family, your loved ones. However, just as you have this dream, they want their children to turn out right, however they define it. They have mortgages, rent, a tough boss, their own hobbies, and they will listen but they are not your advocate. They wont tell everyone they know about it.

You are your advocate.

Nobody will ever believe in your book as much as you do. If you find beta readers, or editors who do, buy them all the chocolates, and give them all the hugs, because that is a rare person.

What does it mean to be the person who cares most about your project? Just like most entrepreneurs, and most creatives it means there will be a certain level of lonely, and a certain level of “This can’t work because nobody believes,” but “I’m going to push through anyway…” That is why I have spoken before about habits. If your writing does not have a habit to carry you through, when those days of uncertainty come, and you ask people for help, and they honestly say a variant of “I love you, but I am too busy,” then you have the fortitude to carry on until they have the time, however long that may be.

It means you need to accept your own book, knowing it is not right the first time, it will not be right the tenth time, but maybe it will be right enough. It means you need to finish your book, even when the finish line feels far away. Push through with habit. Count every word you write, give yourself credit for each step. Sometimes you will revisit those things you write and they are better than you had ever dreamed and sometimes they are worse than you could imagine. Keep working. While you are waiting for the world to come around to your belief about your books importance, and while you work to convince them, because they will not come around on their own; keep working.

Why else would they believe you?

“I believe in XYZ story more than anything…”

You say it and say it, and then finally someone has free time, because they DO care, just not quite as much as you do. They turn and say back to you “Can I see what you have?”

You can either respond “Here you go…” or “I haven’t written it yet…” Which do you want that moment to be? Remember writers write. That means caring about your piece, more than the rest, and acting accordingly.

Now go write something.

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