Let’s face it, I’m pretty weird.
I’m a writer with an overdeveloped imagination who sits for hours at the keyboard creating adventures for fictional character at the expense of having them myself. I even call those characters ‘friends’. I hear them speaking; I laugh with them when they do something that cracks me up, and I cry with them when things fall apart around them. My self-made isolation in my caravan fortress is comfortably familiar and the adventures I create in here thrill me more than Star Wars.
So yeah, that’s seriously weird.
But I have to watch out for dragons. Yep, them there dragons of avoidance, ignorance, timidity and fear, all like to rear up and wag great big jaws at me, and you if you let them. They belch forth reasons why I’m not good at it, why I shouldn’t go to conferences (even if covid wasn’t around); why I don’t need to write newsletters and blogs, and why I shouldn’t spend time on social platforms. They’re those same dragons that send fiery blasts of guilt for not producing stories, and self-pity when someone else posts their latest published novel and I don’t.
Talk about an epic battle taking place right at my fingertips! Yes, a real struggle! A fight I might not always win.
Procrastination is a dragon that kills my motivation to write that next scene. Yet creating something of worth means I’ll need to fight for it, and continue to fight until I’ve arrived at the end of my journey. Until I can see the Holy Grail before my tired eyes.
I’ll even have to slip my sword from its scabbard once in a while and stab those pesky conflicts and opposition in the guts. They’ll show up every day if I let them and I have to get violent, just like the hero in my book has to get violent if he’s to survive and reach the final scene.
Let me tell you, I’ve battled some pretty epic dragons over the years, especially in the arena of self-publishing. My armour is a bit singed in places and my helmet sits a bit crooked. Once I took back the rights for my books from my last publisher—and for years I procrastinated doing that too—I found myself out on a limb over the raging river called Do It Yourself. Believe me, there were quite a few crocodiles down there waiting to gobble me up in doubts and uncertainties.
I read loads of articles and how tos on the internet on self-publishing my first book. I gave up many times after failing dismally, but I knew I had to keep going. I was on my own epic journey and huge dragons started to appear around every corner. At first, I didn’t know what to do about them and tried everything. But they wouldn’t go away. For many months, I avoided purchasing Vellum, which I knew would format my manuscripts beautifully. I clung to my old beliefs and methods and created terrible books. Cringe! It made me so anxious and frustrated, I’d cry myself to sleep.
Then, one day, I bit the proverbial bullet and bought Vellum. I started improving and creating beautiful products. But still, no one was buying them. So, I set off on a side road to discover what had to be done. I’m still figuring it out but I’m a little closer to understanding.
This year, I decided to embark on the production of a newsletter and blog and created a website as a possible landing page. I’ve never ever written a blog before, but I know it’s like some magic key that opens doors. I’ve learned how to add text to photos, make short videos, create pins on Pinterest and set up 3D book covers. Maybe one day, I’ll even learn how to make a crazy video to upload on Youtube, though I don’t want to crack anyone’s screen just yet.
Derek Murphy has a great way to battle those dragons of fear, which I really like. You might like it, too.
‘You know that the secret charm to combat a boggart - a creature that mimics your worst fear - is "Riddikulus." If you're able to laugh out loud at your fear and turn it into a ridiculous image, it will no longer threaten you.’ –Derek Murphy.
A great idea. What do you think?