Updated: Dec 5, 2021
In this post, let’s look at our WHY.
Why do you want to write? What brought you here?
Do you just want to be a published author?
Do you want to make some extra money?
Do you have stories swirling in your brain that need to come out?
Do you want to raise awareness about an issue?
Do you want to help people overcome their struggles?
Does it make you feel accomplished?
There are MANY reasons someone might start this book writing journey. Mine started as a story in my brain, and shifted to just wanting to bring joy and *hopefully* help people. And let’s be honest, most people don’t mind the financial gain.
Here’s another really important question:
Are you willing to put in the hard work to get these things? Because make no mistake, it IS hard work.
If you go the traditional route, you are looking at several years from start to finish.
Writing, editing, book dummies, querying, illustrating, formatting, marketing, etc.
Disclaimer: I’d LOVE to be traditionally published, because I’m cheap and THEY pay YOU. No upfront costs! HOWEVER, your time is important, too. And getting traditionally published can take a crazy amount of time. 2+ years in fact. I’ve never done it, but ask anyone who has.
If you’re willing to take a gamble and self publish, you can get your book out there much faster, but you then have A LOT of work ahead of you, with little to no help. Plus, you are funding this project, so expect to pay something.
Writing, beta reading, editing, character design, setting/page layout, book dummies, or for you non-illustrators, finding someone to illustrate, formatting, typesetting, ISBN’s, uploading, marketing, etc.
If what I just said scares you, GOOD.
It scares me (and still does), but if you are determined, whichever route you choose, you will succeed.
If you’re going the traditional route, I hope in the future to provide more insight into this. Right now, however, I’m not pursuing this route so if you’re looking for more information, head over to SCBWI and become a member!
If you’re planning on self-publishing….let me ask again. WHY do you want to do this?
This is something only YOU can answer.
Take a minute to think about your WHY.
Grab a notebook, go write it down. Put it somewhere where you can see it. Always let it remind you of why you're doing what you're doing. When you are clear on why you are trying to accomplish something, it makes the whole process flow and gives you motivation when you are feeling none.
Let me tell you a bit about my why:
My WHY is two-fold. One, is my family. The other, to prove to myself that I can actually do this!
1. I want to show my family, and mostly my own children that you can do anything if you work hard and set your mind on it.
As a teacher, I see the way students and my own children are changing and evolving. They struggle with learning in a system that is pushing them to higher education, even when it's not in their best interest. I want to set a positive example for them, showing them that it's okay to pursue something different, and finding a passion in life makes it exciting and super enjoyable.
2. Despite several people in my life encouraging me, I never believed in myself. Even with my art background, I NEVER felt confident enough to actually do the THING.
When I first rediscovered my passion for writing, I assumed I’d have someone else do the illustrations. My confidence level was 0. It took someone taking a chance on me to prove to myself that I had what it took to break out of my comfort zone and DO THE THING.
Side note story time: I had just started learning about writing picture books when out of nowhere, an old colleague asked if I'd be willing to illustrate a book she wrote.
I bit my lip. I paced the floor. I thought about it for way too long. I almost said NO. But, and this is one of those times being the people pleaser in me actually worked out in my favor, I sucked it up and said: “I’ve never done it before, but I’m willing to try if you are.”
And so began my illustrating journey.
I learned SO MUCH. And I was hungry for more. A few months later, the book was finally released and became a hit! Well, at least with family and friends.
Go check it out
With each new thing I start and learn about, I'm terrified. At first, I’m pretty bad at it. It scares me. But so did illustrating, and I did that, so anything is possible!
I am now determined to prove my old self wrong.
And now, here I am, embarking on this journey that hopefully can help YOU.
I believe there is power in everyone’s stories. So reach out, ask questions, and in the comments, tell me your WHY.
Till next time.