A guest post by Venli.
Is my life as an author, a page-turner? Is it one long, glorious retreat in a cabin nestled in the mountains?
No? So, what exactly does an author do?
There is wonderful freedom in being a self-published author. With this freedom, comes the responsibility of owning your own business.
Writing is only one piece of the puzzle. Hammering out details with event-sponsors, answering fan-mails – all these take up a lot of time as well.
I hope this short video gives you the real skinny on an author’s life, and some practical tips which may help you in your writing.
The enchanting world of an author
Authors are mysterious creatures with crazy habits. They exist in a utopian dream-world driven by lofty ideals and free from mercenary thoughts. They have so many things to share those words just flow off the tip of their pens.
The reality is more prosaic.
I want to share with you how my day looks like as a writer.
A lot of my time goes in research and keeping updated with trends and current events. Why do all this trend spotting?
Some of the greatest books in the world are available today for free downloads as their copyrights have expired. You can download, whole sets of Dickens or P.G. Wodehouse. Why would someone buy my book when they can get the best books in the world for free?
I add value by sharing my uniquely individual perspective with contemporary themes in my writings, so they are relevant to my reader. As a blogger once wrote, “A dead mouse on my doorstep today, is more relevant for me, than the destruction of Pompeii 2500 years back.”
I also keep an eye out for interesting details which would add richness, authenticity, and fun to my writing. These details could be intriguing images I caught in my mind or with my phone. These details could also be words, phrases or descriptions I came across in other books.
A writer’s unique voice is supported by rich descriptions which have specificity and precision, so they do not sound like generalizations. The writer’s thoughts, choice of words and phrasings distinguish her or him from all other writers.
To be able to include unique descriptions and fun-facts in my writings, I need to be on the look-out all the time.
I use my phone during my walks to catch snapshots, short videos, and jot down ideas. I also carry a little notebook with me. When I am waiting for someone and have a few minutes I sketch in my ideas in the notebook, which I then flesh out later at home. All this becomes a part of my personal library which I use in my writings.
Health & fitness get my conscious attention every-day
When I shifted from a corporate career to my life as an author, I was desperate to make it big. Often, I would not leave my home for days, and would sit glued to my chair for hours. Full of anxiety, I see-sawed between euphoria and depression. I put on weight, lost muscle-mass and sank into an unhealthy lifestyle.
One day I got my wakeup call. I had joined a 5-hour hike on a glorious summer-day. Midway during the hike I ran out of steam. I felt dizzy and collapsed 10 minutes after starting out.
That was the last straw. It was time for action.
I gave up all added sugar. I still have an occasional cookie, but no added sugar in tea or coffee. Because I drink about 7 cups of tea every-day, no-sugar means that I cut nearly 300 calories/day in one stroke. I created a daily home-exercise routine and joined in my local gym.
I resolved that not a single day should go by without significant movement. At the very minimum I walk at-least 2 miles every-day. I do this religiously whether it is raining or snowing.
The best plans are those which are simple. Complicated exercise routines don’t work for me. My fitness plan is sustainable because it is so simple.
I had come to the point that I could not anymore fit in my pants; I could not walk without feeling exhausted, and I felt drained-out all the time. Now I feel I am getting back to normal.
What’s the point of making money when you are not healthy enough to enjoy it? Taking an hour out to go for a walk, when I could be penning in a masterpiece, seems a criminal waste of time, but it recharges me physically & mentally, and indirectly helps me write better.
Marketing and sales are other activities which take up a big chunk of my day
It is essential for me to get the word out about my book and products. My blog, YouTube channel, and activities like SEO optimization & link-building take up a lot of my time.
I am not good at multi-tasking. If I am focused on SEO then for a couple of days my writing needs to take a back-seat. On the other hand, when I am writing, then I put aside my marketing activities for some time.
I try not to let anything fall-off too far behind. I have a simple marketing planner and I try as much as I can to be faithful to my plans.
Writing is not easy. With billions of books floating around, what can an author write – which will add enough value to the universe – such that people pay money to buy his or her book?
Every author desperately wants to make money.
However, I did not give up my desk-job just for money. I was making several times more money than I likely would ever do as a writer.
I gave up my corporate career for freedom. Freedom to me not only means flexibility, it also means being free to live according to my values, and not being forced to participate in corporate politics. I no longer must indulge in shameless grandstanding, or one-upmanship or belittle my colleagues in subtle ways.
For me, being an author-entrepreneur would be meaningless if I did not believe in my heart that I bring value to you through my works.
This post is a trascript of the following video.
I hope this video gives you some insight into my life as an author.