The most challenging thing I find about being a writer is not so much writer’s block or even completing an 80,000-word novel, as many people assume.
For me, writing a novel is the easy part. But it’s not so simple to revise and rewrite it. Let’s not forget our blogs that require daily, if not, weekly maintenance in order to market ourselves and build our platforms. Working on your novel and building a blogging network at the same time can pose many challenges, not the least of which time management. For example, often when I’m writing a blog post I catch myself thinking, “I should really be working on my book.”
While I’ve written two novels, I’m not yet published. Certainly it’s my goal to soon see my finished works available for all to read (and purchase). But publishing today isn’t enough anymore. Whether you go the self-publishing route or attempt to publish through traditional channels, you must be your best advocate. You have to market yourself and do most of the PR work. That’s where blogging comes in and why many literary agents and publishing professionals advocate that you promote yourself via social media and blogging.
Don’t expect someone else to do this for you. This includes your agent, if you’ve landed one, and the publisher. Yes, you can hire a publicist or PR company, but these avenues can cost a lot of money, especially when you want to do things the right way. If you have the money and can afford spending it to improve your book, the most important step I’ve found is hiring a good developmental editor and not just a grammatical editor. Maybe you’re confident you can do it yourself. If this is the case, at least get a beta reader, preferably several, to give your labor of love a once-over with notes.
I’m not writing all this because I am a know-it-all. At least I hope I’m not coming across like one. But, through trial and error, I’ve learned that I have the hardest time looking at my work objectively. I think most writers are in the same boat. If we try to do it all ourselves, we end up extending the process of completing our revisions.
I’m also a content producer which encompasses: videography, video editing, and social media management, so feedback is essential in my line of work. I always ask for a second opinion, and it’s usually from my husband, as he is a chief content officer for his media company, an award-winning journalist, and an outstanding editor (not so much a book editor, there’s a difference). He provides valuable critiques on time lines I’m working on for clients before sending a rough video edit over to them. It helps because he’s got an eye for creative direction and is excellent at pointing things out. It’s the same for my blog posts; he looks them over for me before I publish.
Having an editor (especially a developmental editor) is the most important step to take before publishing, regardless if you get beta readers to help you improve plot, character development and story or decide to shell out money for a professional editor. But don’t neglect blogging and self-promotion. Building a platform can prove to be the most challenging step, especially if you’re just beginning. Even if you’ve built your platform, you have to continue refining and expanding it, and making time for blogging. Time management is definitely a challenge, especially if you have a day job, kids, a spouse, dogs…heck, it all sucks up your time and energy.
The Bottom Line
Writing a novel is the easy part. Revising the novel, rewriting it, and focusing on developing it into a publishable piece of work is the ultimate challenge. The second hardest thing to achieve is managing your time and mustering up the energy to blog regularly. Self-promotion via blogging and social media is just as important, but it can be time consuming. My hope is that all of us aspiring published authors can learn to better manage our time. It’s the hardest thing to do, but we can do both work on our breakout novel and carve out time for blogging consistently. If we do that, our hard work and managed time will pay off.