You may have noticed that for the past year or so I haven’t been writing as much. In fact I decided to take a little break as I had started to fall out of love with the whole process (I know – shock, horror!!) I would like to report that I have since become a multi-millionairess with a second home in Florida and half-naked butlers serving me cocktails as I lounge by the swimming pool, but alas… I am still sitting in the same chair, staring at the same computer screen, with a bank balance as loose as old knicker elastic! So what was the point, I hear you all cry? Well, Ok, maybe one of you. What have you actually achieved in the time you’ve been skiving off from your blogs and novels? Well, I’ll tell you
I have been learning a lot of things – about myself and about new skills. I also learnt that you can’t make much money from things you can’t be passionate about (although others have made money from the same ventures) – see this post here. I have also been exercising my crafty side, that is, the part of me that loves to make things and then sell them at craft fairs. Candle-making, needle-felting, and pyrography also bring out the creative passion in me despite getting splashed with hot wax, stabbed by needles and burned by a very hot pyrography iron! For my craft website click here.
Before I went away I had felt that I didn’t have the knowledge or tools to survive in an Indie published world, but it has given me time now to stand back, look at the skills I need, and to learn them. Oddly though, they are not the skills I thought I’d need. The idea of having to do everything for my book (write, design the cover, format and market – but not editing – I always get a professional editor) made me feel worn down before I’d got anywhere.
In the same vein, not so long ago, I decided to launch a range of premium beeswax/soy scented (naturally) candles. I had the knowledge of essential oils and candle-making, and could easily design the packaging. And I knew I would have to also market and sell them. Researcher/developer, producer, designer, packager, marketer and sales person. All in a working day. Phew!
Of course, as much as I’d like to claim the title, I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN! Yes, folks, I think I was being slightly over-optimistic of skills, time and most definitely energy. That’s what happens when you are on the bipolar spectrum and are in that fantastic thrall of a high.
Thankfully I saw sense and realised that (a) – I don’t have it in me to launch such a business and keep it going without ending up quivering under a table somewhere with a large bottle of whisky, and, (b) I’d actually rather be writing again. Yes, my writing verve has returned, feeling fresher than ever before. HOORAY!
So, what exactly did I learn from my time away?
- That there is no easy/fast way of making money unless you have quite a bit to start with.
- Learning new things is fun, but not always profitable.
- Marketing is a fascinating business – but that I am not cut out for affiliate marketing.
- I can’t bet on horse races because too many horses get hurt or killed and that makes me really sad.
- I am better at crafting than I thought.
- That selling your own crafts gives you a real buzz.
- New skills related to writing and also Indie publishing that will take me forward in the coming years.
- Quick blog posts (like this one) are OK, but more involved, heavily researched ones, like on my Despenser blog tend to drain me.
- People like my writing (as in books) but there isn’t enough of it to gain any traction for a wider fan base.
- I am much happier dreaming up plots, playing scenes through my head and talking to characters than I would be running a more complicated business.
- That I CAN achieve anything I want to as long as: (a) it makes me happy- most of the time anyway, (b) it doesn’t impact on my already dodgy health, (c) I work hard at it and keep on improving my knowledge.
- That when it comes to Indie publishing, it is OK to hire experts other than editors. Which means, for my next published book, that I will happily take on a cover designer, formatter, and blurb writer. Less stress = more creativity.
So there you have it. I am back in the author’s seat now and will diligently plough on with my queued up WIPs – Crime and Punishmment n Medieval England (now at revision stage), Despenser Pt One (working title, the first of three – nearly finished 1st draft), and The Owl Wife (still at planning stage). And I shall also be making sure that I have regular breaks in which to do my crafting.