By Kyle Perkins.
So lately I have heard from a few people that they feel like they should just give up on writing because for whatever reason, they are feeling like it just isn’t worth it anymore. Whether they feel like they aren’t getting enough attention, don’t have enough fans, or whatever the case may be, they are wrong, and here’s why.
Writers and authors have a gift, and because we have that gift, we have an obligation, a responsibility to use it. We may “just” arrange words in such a fashion that people enjoy reading them, but a heart surgeon “just” transplants hearts, and astronauts “just” go to space. We need to stop treating writing like it is simply a hobby that “anyone” can do, because that’s not the case. We “just” take people to places they can’t go on their own, and give them a form of escapism they cant find themselves. We are imagination sherpas, guiding readers along new paths in an unmapped world. The world needs us as much as we need the trash man right up to spinal surgeons. We all have a certain skill set that is no more important or less important than any other skill. We need to stop selling ourselves short as a community of people, and see ourselves for what we are, which are artists.
Everyone has self doubt, even famous authors, musicians, and actors. Self doubt can be crippling, but it can only be if you allow it. The people that get by and make it are people that have that same self doubt, but release their work and keep going, never listening to that voice in their head that tells them that they aren’t good enough. All authors are “good enough,” we already put ourselves out there to the masses and left ourselves out to dry, weathering their criticisms and praises. If you’re an author and you’ve done this, the hard part is over. Now all that you have to do is keep writing. No matter what you think about yourself, or if that voice tells you that you’re no good, there are people out there that will think you are the most brilliant author that has ever lived. Those are the people you want. That’s your fan base. Some people will absolutely despise your work, and they let themselves be known, which is great! They are not your fan base, you are not writing for them. So, why does it even matter if they hate you?
If you can connect with one person a day, even one person a week as an author, you are doing fantastic. Being an author isn’t a race, and if you treat it like one, you’re setting yourself up for failure, because we don’t all run at the same speeds. Instead, take it slow, build real connections with real people, and they will love you as an author and be your fan for life. Hollow Facebook “likes” mean nothing over a true fan that admires you and your work, trust me.
I know a lot of you see some people on Facebook “making it” and you feel a little bit down about yourself when you compare your progress to theirs. Well, I’ll let you in on something… Facebook means absolutely nothing. Facebook is massive, the biggest social media site on Earth, however, the indie community isn’t. The Facebook indie community is an entirely closed circuit of the same people. People come and go from it, but it is pretty much all the same people. There are so many sites and avenues to take your work down, that you shouldn’t focus on what’s happening on Facebook and use it as a gauge for success. For the people that are doing great on Facebook, awesome! Never feel overwhelmed by those people, though. They are just like you, except they worked hard to build this presence over time, or have great marketing, but they are in the same closed circuit as you. They may have gotten these fans first, but they surely won’t be the last, and readers never follow JUST one author. So keep your chin up, your work will speak for itself, and though they may follow these people, it doesn’t mean they won’t follow you, just give them time to discover you.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that not having a million fans within three months of writing isn’t the end of the world. The important thing is that you keep writing, and coming up with new material for the fans you DO have. Those people, the true fans, they will be there with you until the end, and one real fan that you connect with, is worth a thousand hollow likes or contest wins. If you even have a single fan, you owe it to them to keep going, that’s someone that totally believes in you. Don’t let your own self doubt let them down. Also, don’t discredit your fan base because it’s smaller than others you have seen. You will get there, and those people will help you along the way. They are with you because you left a mark on their soul, don’t make it a scar. You owe it to yourself and them to keep going.
Our words inspire people and change them, but we need to set aside some time to inspire ourselves. =)