I’m a noob. New at writing. I take that back. I’m new at writing publicly. My name is Jonathan J Michael. And this is my first blog ever. So, by the famous words of that little Italian plumber I grew up controlling on the screen, “Here we go!”
I have been writing for about 7 years now. Most of that time was spent learning how to write. If only you could see the chicken-scratch I put on the page (with an actual pencil, not a keyboard) when I first decided I was going to be an author. I have no formal education in the literary realm, so it has been uphill the entire way, and continues to be uphill. But I enjoy doing it. And now I can say I’m a self-published author.
Check it out! Season of Sacrifice, an epic fantasy without dragons and magic, but instead, giant beasts and seasonal sciences. Written in first person with several different protagonists and antagonists, it offers heroism, bravery, assassinations, growth, murder, lust and a battle between fact and faith, all set in a world known as Azure. Available now on Amazon.com in both ebook and paperback formats.
Intent of the Blog
Okay, enough of the plugs. And enough about who I am. You can find more about me right here if you’re interested. Let’s get into the intent of this blog.
- Draw attention to my true passion, my writing.
- Help a few (or maybe more than a few) writers grow along side me
- Promote and deliver updates about my books
- Communicate inspirations behind my stories
- Grow my fan base (Currently one, my brother. Thanks Bro!)
Challenges of Writing for the Noob
If you’re like me, you have a 9 to 5 and writing is a mere hobby. A hobby that doesn’t put the food on the table for the wife and twins. Writing is seen as free time not spent doing the dishes, cooking dinner, mopping the floor, cleaning the bathroom, and the list goes on. And that is exactly what it is. Don’t try to argue otherwise to your spouse, partner or whoever you owe dedicated time to. Writing is free time spent doing what you enjoy doing until it provides something in return that not only you can enjoy. So make your writing public. (I say that like an experienced vet. Like I know exactly what I’m doing. I don’t. I’m a noob too, as I’ve already mentioned.)
Now that we’ve defined what writing is for the noob, what are the challenges we face to do what we enjoy, and to grow, and hopefully one day make it a career? I obviously can’t speak for everyone. My own experiences are all I know. But here is what I have experienced.
Sacrifice: A lot of sacrifice is required. Sleep for one. I’m writing this at 2 a.m. because, one, I woke up after already being asleep for hours with the inspiration to do so (honestly, it may have been the heartburn that woke me up), and two because it is time I have for myself that nobody else can take away from me. What I sacrifice in return is sleep. This isn’t regular for me, but often, either a late night or an early morning are the only time I have where I don’t have obligations to be doing something else. So a bit of sleep can go to the way side to evolve your “free time” into a career.
What I wouldn’t recommend doing is sacrificing too much of your children’s time, too much of your spouse’s time and definitely do not sacrifice your current employer’s time. If I had to choose between the three, I’d choose four. Sleep.
The downside, depending how well you do with little sleep, this can still impact the other three. So be cautious. Try to find the balance and plead for dedicated time to write if you are passionate about it.
Confidence: How do you know if what you write is received as intended? How do you know if you’re writing something that people want to read? You don’t. Not until you start writing and you start sharing it.
I am no expert, and don’t claim to know anything. I’m a noob for goodness sake. (Damn. There it is again. Mentioning my lack of experience in the public realm of writing.) And I have struggled with confidence for the past seven years. I started by offering the first page of my book. Probably prematurely, as it was still in a rough state, but it helped me grow. Then I offered up the first ten to twenty chapters (still prematurely) and it helped me grow. I was lucky because I had someone to help motivate me (no constructive criticism, just pure motivation that I needed to keep going) and it helped me gain the confidence I needed to just put it out there. The point is, you won’t know if it’s something that people want to read until you put it out there and share it. And even if its something people don’t want to read (like this blog for instance), then they’ll move on with their day and forget about it. No harm done. Then you write the next one. You can find this feedback anywhere on the internet, so enough said.
Lack of Audience: If you’re not using a pen name, you have family and friends to at least get you started. But even that isn’t highly recommended (or so I’ve read). You need to get your name out there to the world. To people who don’t know you. If you are using a pen name, then it can be even more difficult because you can’t utilize social media, because if you create an account under your pen name, you start out without any friends. Unless you invite your mother to be your friend. Sad. But maybe necessary to get the train moving.
Being the noob I am (ugh… there it is again, but we all have to start somewhere) I don’t have any advice in this realm and am curious what advice others have? How do you build an audience as a self-published author? Do you make cold calls and go door-to-door to sell your book? Or do you simply start a blog and start telling your story?
One site I have found helpful is kindlepreneur.com. But I am still on the path to figuring this out and haven’t utilized all the tools on this website. Still dealing with that sacrifice part of the equation and time is limited.
Jonathan J Michael