Anything worth doing comes at a cost. The bigger the dream, the higher the cost.
Having accepted that being a novelist will take my life, sweat and blood, the economist within me has a few questions. Agents in economic models seek to maximize utility (wellbeing) at the lowest cost. In other words, the economist in me is very interested in finding the most efficient way of achieving my goals – you could even call it the maximization of resources.
Thus emerge the 6 Clarag Rules for the Publication Process, which are meant to keep the process moving as efficiently as possible. They can be applied to those who are working on any writing project, whether in blogs or through books (self or traditional publishing). Importantly, they are based on information shared by those who know much more than I do.
1) Be constant – Work on the project daily. Not every day will be equally productive, but the important thing is to move forward. By definition, standing still never gets you anywhere.
Check out nanowrimo.org for the yearly 50,000 word marathon many consider a rite of passage for aspiring novelists.
2) Document your research on all aspects of publication through this website – Find a method of documenting your research. There is so much information out there that it’s very easy to misplace something that’s useful to you.
This very website, for instance, provides me with a structure in which to order my thoughts and share and hear other people’s opinion on the process.
3) Don’t forget that people are the basis of the project – From the interview or Webinar you’re learning from, to the person you hope one day reads your book, the publication and dissemination process is ultimately about connection between people, start to finish.
Because writers tend to enjoy working on their craft alone much more than spending time on social media (or real-life events) connecting with others, it’s even more important to keep in mind that you can write the best novel, but if you don’t let people know that it exists, no one will ever know about it.
As a result, link up with like-minded writers (check out my ever-growing Fellow Writers list on Twitter) either in person or online, and participate in events or websites, such as goodreads.com, where readers tend to flock to.
4) Don’t be ashamed (my most popular tweet) – Do not, under any circumstance, give in to inside and/or outside voices that tell you your writing isn’t going to make it. Any sane person, without an overinflated ego, is self-conscious of their work. That’s normal.
At the same time, most writers agree that writing is something that comes from within, something that they can’t suppress easily, despite having tried to.. If you give in to shame or embarrassment, at the expense of your nature, you have essentially accepted to slowly kill what gives your life. Doesn’t sound like a good idea, right?
Your only choice is to write, and if you don’t like the product enough, keep working to improve it.
5) A writer is first and foremost a reader – You learn as much about writing from reading as you do from writing. To the extent that your life allows, read other novelists for inspiration and writing perspective. My current novel is The Beautiful and the Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
6) Don’t take it too seriously – I love to write, and I love my blogs, but they are not me. While I would appreciate success, it doesn’t condition my desire or drive to do this, and it most definitely does not define me as a person. I do this because it makes me happy. The day it doesn’t, I started taking it too seriously.
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