Self-Evaluation Leads to Self-Publishing Triumph (Guest Post)

cat sees himself as a lion

 

Self-Evaluation Leads to Self-Publishing Triumph
Guest Post by Katya W. Mills

I turned 40 on February 1st. A real classic marker, 40. One cannot help but assess the life. I was okay with my life. I am a survivor. I have been through a lot. A LOT. The whole enchilada of my life was looking pretty good. A pretty-well-rounded and far-from-perfect specimen of humanity. That’s what I saw in the mirror. A real personality. The kind of character not even my pen could create. Stranger than fiction. So what if I was broke? Not in spirit! Wow. I realized that I liked myself. And that made me feel happy. So what if I might at times be on the other side of your ticket to the zoo?

So 40 came and I thought I was golden. But then the midlife crisis moment hit me and knocked me to my knees. Ouch! The half-lit marquee in the fog. The one with the big letters dangling off it and some turned around. Two words: UnPubliShed WrIteR. My mind searched my memory banks for writers I loved, who had not been published by forty. There were a couple, thank god. Honore de Balzac maybe. Still, no matter how I might shop around for comparison, I came face to face with my truth; being anything other than a published author was unacceptable to me.

I had put more effort, thought and time into writing than anything else. And people always thought I was pretty talented. In 2007, I became a published writer.  I started my website (as a blog), and was able to alleviate the personal pressure cooker I felt to get my words out to the world. I felt great. Meanwhile, I had just finished my MA in psychology, and was making a living as a social worker. I had a calling! I had a job I really cared about!  But the social work was very hard, and I tended to burn myself out. My larger works of literary fiction gathered dust. But what choice did I have? I had to support myself.

I knew this self-publishing possibility was out there. It seemed unreal. I had tried and failed in my twenties, to promote my work to quarterlies and top-tier magazines like the New Yorker. I set the bar too high. I lost confidence in the publishing world. I was pretty sensitive.

So I kept writing and experiencing things. I told myself, ‘attraction not promotion, attraction not promotion’. This is true. If you believe in yourself, this will show in all you do. If you dedicate yourself to a craft, you will develop a personal style all your own. People are attracted to courage, grace and effort. These qualities defy marketing blitz campaigns. I kept the faith, reminding myself, ‘I am a dedicated writer. I believe in myself. I have developed a style all my own.’

But I could not steady myself around this saying, ‘writing is its own reward.’ Because there was my dream, you see? I always wanted to be a published author. I had to try. And so, at age 40, midlife crisis time, I realized: ‘it’s time, Kat, you gotta go for it! That was February 1st. Eight months later…  I feel that same kinda blissed out relief I felt when I started blogging in 2007, perhaps more powerfully, when I reach down to my coffee table and pick up my copy of my self-published novel, and hold it under my eyes – wow! Some kinda wonderful.

For more information about Katya Mills, stop by her blog: Kissilent.wordpress.com, and website: www.katyamills.com.

 

 

NaNoWriMo Check In

How has your NaNoWriMo going so far? I’m one day behind in word count thanks to a migraine, but I think I’ll make up the word count today.

Things I’ve learned so far:

1) Some say you should write at the same time every day to get into a routine. This doesn’t really work for me, as I work full-time and often I’m not in the mood to write on my lunch break, so I have to wait until I get home – and vice versa. I write whenever the inspiration gets me, which is to say I write whenever. The routine also doesn’t work for someone coping with a debilitating pain condition that literally stops me in my tracks.

2) Plotting/outlining the story was a good idea. I’m not sticking to the outline 100% but since I have an idea where I want the story to go, I’m in better shape than usual. Also I printed out the plot outline so I can refer back to my characters and the little details you can sometimes forget about a person.

3) I’m writing each day in a new document. Most have one larger manuscript, which makes sense too, but for some reason this way of organizing works better for me. I can see all the documents I’ve completed and feel more accomplished. (Maybe as a former journalist it’s like I’m seeing all the articles I’ve completed.) It’s also nice to start with a blank page and then fill it up with that day’s ideas.

4) If you can attend a Write-In, do it! I attended one in my city this week and sitting among other writers typing away on their stories inspired me – and brought out my competitive streak. I didn’t participate in the word wars but plan to next week. Find one in your city/town and take an hour or so from your busy schedule to do this. It’s also fun to find out about other writers’ stories.

That’s it so far. If you want to “friend” me on the NaNoWriMo site, I’ll “friend” you back. My name is OneStorySlinger.

Keep Writing! 🙂