“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
I’ve received many emails and messages from new authors asking me the simplest questions and wanting the simplest answers: Who do you use for editing and how hard was the interview process to narrow them down to make sure they were legit? How do you schedule out your day for writing and social media versus your normal life to balance things out, and is it hard to make sure that you stick to your schedule? What would you say is the hardest thing that that you’ve ever written—
Wait, wait, wait… Time out.
Where is the fun in any of that? Where is the passion? Where is the drive? Where is the fuel, the burn, the soul, the heart? Now, yes, I know that those things are important, for sure, but first things first.
- Let’s take a deep breath here and remember why we’re doing this. Are we doing this for money? Then sure, go back up to your regimented schedule and have at it. Are you doing this because it’s in your heart and soul and there’s a story that needs to be told? Do you wake up and think about your characters, do you dream about them, are you constantly thinking of plots or lines that a character would say? We make what is most important to us a priority. What is going to be your priority?
- And yes, a schedule is important, but it can’t be the whole reason you’re there. You have to WANT to be there. I write and work a few hours in the mornings and then a couple hours at night, also, while I’m watching TV. You find a schedule that works for you and works WITH your family, not straining against them.
- Book research, online and in real-life, can be SO FUN. (Wink, wink) Hubby doesn’t complain.
- Now, if you’re a brand new writer, then you’ve never experienced this, but if you’re a new author, then you know what it’s like for someone to contact you, even if it’s just one person, and tell you that they read your book and loved it. Remember what that was like? Remember that feeling of thinking, “Holy WOW, someone read my book!” Remember feeling so humble and wowed by your small place in this world. It doesn’t matter if you’ve put out one book or twenty one books like me, that feeling of humbleness should never go away. Always be grateful to your readers, even to the ones who didn’t enjoy your story because they took a chance on you and they didn’t have to. Every book is not for everybody.
- Now, THIS IS A JOY, NOT A JOB. When it all starts to feel like work, then step back and look at what you’ve been doing. Try to get back to that place in the beginning of freedom and thankfulness.
Shelly Crane is a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling YA author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay-at-home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. She hoards paperbacks, devours sweet tea, searches year-round for candy corn, and loves to spend time with her family and friends, go out to eat at new restaurants, sight-see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music, and, of course, loves to read, but doesn’t have much time to these days with all the characters filling her head begging to come out.
She is the author of many titles and her next project The Other Side of Gravity is due to be released 2015. Filming for a television adaptation of her Significance series began August 3rd 2015.