Welcome special guest, Rebecca Knight, author of LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS! She has a great post for us today and we're having a giveaway, so stick around. :)
Take it away, Rebecca!
Staying Motivated When The Odds Are Against You
A question that I get a lot is what keeps me motivated, or rather what keeps me pursuing my goals against such staggering odds. Writing is such an emotional pursuit, that it’s difficult not to get discouraged or even depressed when there is a bump in the road. We often worry about every little thing. Do we suck? Is it all for nothing? Every word we put on the page is personal, at least to some extent, and the idea of putting it out there where people can judge it or hate it is terrifying. Plus, even if you do put it out there, the odds aren’t good that you’ll ever be a success.
So, why do we do what we do?
For me, it’s a combination of things. First off, I’ve always had a deep belief in my ability to make things happen. If I want it, and there is a tiny chance that I can make it, I’m all in, working as hard as I can to be in that top percentile.
My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so if I ever wanted to go to camp or do any special activities for school, I had to raise the money myself. I remember one year my school was taking a trip to Ashland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I was deeply into drama then, but the trip was over $200 and there was no fundraising set up by the school .
I decided that I was going to sell candy bars on my own to pay my way. My mom and I went to the store and loaded up on 50 cent candy bars, figuring I’d try to sell them for $1 each at school. Well, everyone is always selling candy bars for something, so pretty much everyone told me it was pointless to try to do it myself. “There’s candy in the vending machines for 75 cents!” my friend told me. “Why the hell would anyone buy from you?”
Well, I was just going to have to try harder and sell smarter than all the girlscouts and vending machines if I was going to succeed. I made two brightly colored signs and literally taped them to the front and back of my shirt each morning, advertising my $1 candy and describing the deliciousness of the bars I had. I asked everyone I talked to if they were in the mood for one, and had strangers approaching me because of the signs—people I’d seriously never spoken to before. I even wore the signs to my after school driver’s ed class and sold candy there to jocks who previously hadn’t spoken to me. I made it more convenient to talk to me than to walk down the hall to the vending machine.
I made to Ashland with money to spare and had an awesome time. If I want it, I work my butt off to make it happen. No excuses.
Secondly, it’s easier for me to stay motivated when I’m able to be agile. It’s so easy to think that there is only one way to do things or only one “right” path to meet your goal. Then, when that path hits a roadblock or you find that whatever you’re doing isn’t working out, what can you do? You’re stuck, and it can be a huge motivation drainer. What’s the point if you’re not able to do react?
When I thought that the traditional publishing route was the only way to have a writing career, I put all my time and energy into crafting the perfect query and doing things the “right” way. Then, when the recession hit and agents basically stopped taking on genre epic fantasy writers, I thought my only option was to wait for the market to change. So, I waited. I waited for an entire year, and basically took a break from the whole thing. It sucked to feel so out of control.
With the rise of indie publishing, though, I’m agile again, and it’s wonderful to have options. That’s all indie publishing is—an alternate path to meet your goals as a writer.
My sales recently slowed because of the summer season. Book sales are notoriously bad during the summer because folks are outside, going on roadtrips, etc, instead of reading. Because of this slow down, I’m trying something new and putting Legacy of the Empress up for .99 cents until Labor Day. I also released a new story so I’d have more writing out there in general. I have the ability to be flexible and experiment, and its incredibly empowering. I’ve already more than doubled my sales from last month, which just makes me want to write more and more and more J. Being able to roll with the punches is crucial.
A lot of this business is luck, but if you have the will to work as hard as necessary and are able to stay agile, you can make a lot of your own luck. And that is motivating as hell.
Good luck to all of you, and may you never lose sight of your goals J.
Rebecca's awesome ebook, LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS, is available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but she's giving away a copy to three lucky commenters!
To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Additional entries:
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Contest ends Sunday, July 10th, midnight PDT. Winners will be announced Monday, July 11th.
She's also having an awesome giveaway on her blog, including a $25 Amazon gift card. You still have a few days to enter. Don't miss it!