July 2012

Most indie writers have already heard of JA Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and John Locke. They are the success stories that everyone points to, and they offer a wealth of advice on publishing and social marketing side of the business through their blogs, books, and Internet articles. I, for one, have learned a great deal from these three people which I've used on my own e-publishing journey. However, there are three other people and their websites who I'd recommend just as highly.

Every week, I take my two children to music lessons. While waiting for my kids to do their hour of piano practice, I sit in the studio waiting room and either catch up on my editing work or my writing. However, in the past six months, I have been distracted from my tasks by a variety of shifty-looking people passing outside the windows on their way to the office building next door. These people are all from different walks of life, but all have one thing in common: a look of guilt and furtiveness in their mannerisms.

I was a teenager in the ‘80s, so every time I hear a song from that era, it brings me right back to those days of asymmetrical haircuts, DayGlo sweatshirts, and sneaking into Clash concerts. Since I enjoy writing teen novels, I find that I’m able to get into the teen mindset more easily if I delve into my own memories from that time. I do this by cranking up ‘80s music so I’m back to that age again. Immersed in the memories, my writing then flows with details about the teen experience that I might have forgotten otherwise.

Yesterday I talked about how important it is to say no to in order to free up more time to focus on your goals. However, I’ve also learned that while it’s important to say no, it’s equally important to say yes to the right things. You see, when you get a taste of the extra hours you gain by managing your time well, saying no becomes easier and easier. Too easy in fact, if you’re in the throes of creating something great or seeing direct results of time well spent. Saying no can become pretty darn addicting.

Time in not an ever-abundant resource, unlike other things...

As a person who wants to please everyone, I've always had a hard time saying no to requests for my time. Before I committed to writing (finishing!) a book, this wasn't much of a problem. "Sure," I would say. "I can definitely volunteer for the Save the Platypus committee. While I'm at it, I can also clean the dog poop off your lawn, even though I don't have a dog, and drive your kids to school so you can go to the gym. I can also design the marketing materials for your new blended-compost smoothie invention, and correct the typos in your son's college application essay. Sure, no problem. My time isn't my own, anyway. It's yours, so I can feel duly productive. By the way, if you need me to file your toenails while you watch American Idol, I can do that, too. You see, I like staying busy."

Firsts are interesting things. On the one hand, they’re exciting because they’re… well, firsts. For example, when you go on a new ride at an amusement park, such as one of those tall roller coasters where you can see the mountains of the next town (and which you would never catch me dead on, incidentally . . . so I don’t know why I’m using one in my analogy, but oh well). Anyway, while you’re waiting in line for this roller coaster, you’re likely filled with excitement and anticipation about what is to come.