On January 1st of this year, I decided to do something scary. I wanted to write five short books in five weeks. But before I get into how that went, I want to share the why with you, because now that I’ve finished what seemed like an impossible project, the why seems more important than ever.
I’m a writer. If you didn’t already know, writing can get expensive fast. There are the random monthly subscriptions to things you need, like an email list software or a funnel building website. In comparison to the next (and most important) item on the list, those expenses seem measly: the biggest part of my writing budget always goes to copyediting. Copyediting: because you can’t just write something, hope it makes sense, and send it out into the world without making readers mad.
What is doing what you love worth?
And because I love writing so much (I’m really a grumpy and horrible person when I can’t write), I came up with a plan to be able to pay for those copyediting fees. I decided I wanted to become a copyeditor myself, and start my own editing co-op. But because creating and running your own business is hard, I needed a plan. I’m a planner, by the way. I always have a plan for everything (except cleaning…I leave those plans to my husband and just follow said plans). So, I watched what felt like a trillion hours of videos on how to find clients and create a movement instead of a following. Then, I proceeded to read a ton of books and listen to almost as many podcasts about the same topic. Finally, I found several people I knew could help me, and I wrote out a plan with their help.
This plan included a proof of concept that I could actually write. If you want to help other people be able to do something well, you need to be able to do that thing yourself, and know how to recreate those results. So, the first part of this plan was to prove that I could write awesome books based on expensive words (words that cost me emotionally). But I didn’t want this proof of concept to take a long time. You see, I have a long list of books I’ve been wanting to write for years. I was waiting until I leveled-up as a writer. And now that I’ve I finally done that, I needed a way to pay to have these books copyedited, hence the plan. This was when I came up with the crazy idea to write five short books in five weeks. And since middle grade books are short (and I love writing them) I decided to embrace that genre and go for it.
When It Didn’t Go How I Planned
Surprisingly to me (and probably to you, too) the difficult part wasn’t writing the books. I used all of the methods and models I’ve created for myself and my book coaching clients over the years, and I quickly wrote four short fiction books and one nonfiction book that explains the ideas about emotional health and boundaries I explored in the fiction series. Yes, seeing if I could write the books was scary. Yes, I needed to be brave and then act. But that wasn’t the hardest part. The title of this article is “Choose Something Scary, Get Brave, Act, & Repeat,” and I’m betting that right now, you realize that the biggest and hardest part of this entire experiment has been the last one, “repeat.” But why?
The idea of writing 125,000 words in 25 days (I took weekends off to let my brain rest) was intimidating, true. But do you know what I found even more terrifying? Being finished with the series and having to take the next step. Now that the books are ready to send out into the world, I find myself petrified. Because, what if some people don’t like them? I already know, based on all of my years of writing and reading experience, that some people will hate my books. That’s just how it works. It doesn’t matter how hard I (or my sensitivity reader or my copyeditor) tried to make sure the story is the best one I’ve put out so far. No one book is for everyone.
Sure, I did the thing. I wrote the series. Yes, it was brave and yes, the action happened. Now though, I’m faced with that pesky word “repeat.” It’s time to choose the next, scary, step and to remind myself anything worthwhile is also worth the temporary feeling of panic associated with that thing. I need to accept that putting books out into the world where I can’t control how others interact with them will make me feel horrible for a bit. Then, it’s time to get brave.
So, what’s next? Try to market The Old School Series for a bit, while finishing my book funnel for Write Fewer Words, Tell Better Stories which is yet another short book I wrote this year that encapsulates all of the writing lessons I’ve learned over the last decade and also makes writers aware that I exist, and that I (and Literary Symmetry) want to help writers make their stories the best they can possibly be while I get paid to provide this super helpful and necessary service. After that, you better believe I’m going to “repeat” again and finally work on finishing the story of my heart: the Plunge Into Darkness Series.
What is something scary that you’ve been putting off? And what can you do to finally start? Let me know so I can cheer you on.