Becoming an Author: Sparks of July
Follow along my journey to becoming an author. This series documents my goals, my progress, and my ideas for how to set myself up for becoming an author.
If I know one thing it's that my story is worthy of being heard. One day I hope I'm connected to all the right people who needed to hear my story right then and there. I want to inspire others to find hope to live out another day. My book deals with depression, suicide, drug addiction, prison, recidivism, and death. It also gives light to love, hope, beauty, forgiveness, and acceptance.
For my story to be heard I have to share it. And I can't stop. As Stephen King painted very vividly in his book, "On Writing," stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it and sometimes you’re doing good work even when it feels like you’re shoveling shit from a sitting position.
There are days when my story flows so freely and everything is fitting right in place. And days like today, where I tell myself I could be doing better things with my time. The writing feels more like a therapy session I never asked for. I want to share all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope one day when someone else finds the bravery to share their story, they have a window into exactly what my process was.
Below is a recap of June and my plan for July. You can also watch
Progress From June
June is the beginning of my official journey toward publishing so my goals were
Reach 50% of the book and write just a little bit every day (no daily goal set and I decided on 50 during the last week of June 🤷♀️)
No social media goals
No marketing goals were set
No networking goals were set
Recap of June
So did I reach my goal? Yes. It was quite easy since I made them up as I went and technically I only had one trackable goal to hit 50% completion. Here's what else I accomplished:
Redesigned my website to be clear and simple with one call to action: Collect names and emails of people interested in my book release
Set up an email list that I can better track
Set up a welcome email for when people subscribe
Stats from June
As I said, I didn't really have any goals and only started posting on social towards the end. I was able to garner some action, though.
Site Visits: 34
Newsletter sign-ups: 11
1 video post on social
Goals for July
Now, this month, it's all about the goals I can measure! It's nice to get into the swing of things. It's only July 5th and I made my goals on June 30th. I can see why people get in over their head. Since writing them out I've had at least 100 other ideas pop up. Let's stick to what I solidified though:
100 new leads
25 new newsletter subscribers
Post 3-4 stories/day on Instagram
Post 5 videos per week on tiktok/ig
Write 1 blog (Doing that now ✅)
2 youtube videos shared on Linkedin
Connect with a publisher
Learnings so far
I'm not sure I consider myself a perfectionist but I'm uncomfortable with not doing things amazing on the first try. I haven't shared much of my life on social in quite some time and have fallen in love with the privacy and escaping the grasp social had taken on me. Now, I'm back posting my intimate writing sessions, my struggles, and all the in-between, and something about it makes me feel a little guilty, a little whiny, and a bit lonely. I'm all of those things and none of them. I want to be honest about the ebbs and flows of writing and chasing a dream. It feels as though I'm on an island of me. Yet; I have the best support system I could ever ask for. For moments when I feel alone, I reflect on all the people rooting for me and I smash that fear in the face.
The other hurdle is the waste of time feeling.
Some of the chapters I'm writing I have already written 6 times before and erased them. This 7th time is much easier and strings together beautifully. But for the new chapters, my writing feels too raw and unpredictable. I want to erase all of it and skip the time frame. I came across a moment like this today and had to take a break and go for a walk. In Steven King's book, he said his first and best writing advice was this: “When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story." The lesson is, I need to get this first draft down. If there is any goal it is only to finish the first draft. Even if it has details that don't matter or make me look like a complaining brat (one of my biggest fears).
I've been diving into the world of publishing agents and where to find them. I'm just looking to talk with one agent to learn where to start and what the world of publishing is all about.
A very important mentor to me posed the question to me: Why does anyone care about reading your story? What makes you so special that people think they'll get something out of it? It's a question on my mind and while I know it's there it irks me I don't have a solid answer. I try to remind myself that art has a way of painting itself. Yet, in marketing the value has to be so obvious to the reader it would be silly not to pick up the book and read it.
There are days when writing, routine, and progress seem inevitable. The sun shines, the words flow, and life is good. But there are those other days and I believe these are the days that make the best of the best stand out from the others. The days when doubt creeps in. How easy it is to skip a portion of your routine to sulk in the failure of the day.
I've armored myself for days like this. I will not skip a portion of my routine, even if it's delayed. I will not throw away my story and start over this time. Just keep writing, and writing, till the story is told. When I find myself distracting my writing time with excuses to step away, I imagine what my life will look like if I were 40 still saying to people, "Yes, I'm writing a book." I think of the people who believed in me 5 years ago and still do today. I do it for the one student who is trying hard in school and goes home to danger and chaos who reads my book and finds the power to keep going stronger than ever before. I do it for the people I forgot I even shared my story with who reach out years later saying they still turn to my writing for guidance.
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