Eternal optimists, eternal pessimists, Indie authors

The glass is always full.
The glass is always full.

Admit it.  The book writing gig has a lot of ups and downs.  That’s fine, though, because Indie authors are natural born eternal optimists and eternal pessimists.

To keep going as a writer, an author must believe in his work. He may even need to harbor exaggerated expectations about his likelihood of success.

That harboring requires no special training because every Indie author, when she completes a book, pauses for a  moment, perhaps only a moment, and considers what it would be like to see that book take off, to soar into the bestseller stratosphere, to rub its elbows with classics.

If she doesn’t experience that giddy sense of what if, then she ought to hang it up, because she is cheating herself out of one of the most fun things about writing.

I believe it is also true that every author, when he completes a book, pushes the manuscript aside in disgust, curses his inability to get the right words on the page, despairs that no one will read it because it isn’t worth reading.

Such are the manic swings of the writing life.

I wouldn’t believe any writer who tells me she hasn’t been through the highs and the lows of the craft.

The promotional aspect of Indie publishing intensifies these mood swings.

If an author finds a sales strategy that works and that results in a good run, she is on top of the world.  If that season passes (and it always does), and she finds her book sales listless or non-existent, it’s razor blade time (only kidding, but you know what I mean, don’t you).

In other words, an Indie author’s work is never done.  She cannot allow herself to fall victim to the troughs, or to be seduced by the peaks.  Pessimism is healthy when a person stands on the maintain top. Optimism is essential in the slough of despair.

Something about this reminds me of the story about a preacher who taught his flock about the power of faith.  He quoted the scripture that if one has only so much faith as a mustard seed he could say to a mountain, ‘Be thou removed and cast into the sea, and it would be done.’  Then he asked the members of the congregation to try it.

It so happened that the church was set in the mountains and out the church window was visible a majestic peak.  The parishioners closed their eyes and prayed.  Then an Indie author on the front row opened his eyes and saw the mountain still standing where it had for eons.

“I knew it,” he said.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    I believe there are two kinds of writers. One survives on hope. The other works hard to turn hope into reality. He or she is haunted by the fact that there is indeed a better way an stays the course until a better way is found.

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