It feels good to dive back into writing full time, and I recently completed the first book of my new series.
As I quickly moved on toward completion of the next Susan Hunter book, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote a few months ago but never published. It is the advice I give to myself all the time when I think I can’t do it, when I have a hard time keeping at it, or even when I feel like quitting. It’s good for me to read this again today as I forge ahead with the hopes of writing two books in two months. I’ll share it with you, too.
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Just do it.
Everyone is familiar with the famous Nike slogan. It has seeped into many aspects of our lives. I think of the saying when I have chores to do, when I don’t want to exercise or eat healthy, and most definitely with writing.
I wasn’t a writer. I was a wife, a mother, a seller of used children’s books. I love books, but other than a couple of ideas for children’s picture books, the thought never entered my mind to write a fiction novel.
Until it did.
Just do it.
Late in the day, on a cold evening in February of 2012, it popped into my mind that I should write a story. It popped into my mind because I was surfing the Smashwords site, and I was amazed that people were writing stories and books and publishing them on their own. That’s when I thought I would try, too.
I didn’t do any preliminary outlining or give any serious thought to who the characters would be or where they would go. I simply started typing and kept at it for a couple of hours. It was fun, and the story made me smile. I went to bed laughing at myself that I might actually be writing a book.
I added to the story the next day, but I was already waning. I am sometimes my own worst enemy. I can be flighty. I talk myself out of things. Writing a book would be a lot of work, and I was already busy enough. I set the writing aside and went about my normal business for a few days.
But now that the story was started, it kept calling to me. I didn’t really want to, but I found myself adding to the story late at night after everyone was in bed. My book was finished within the month.
I wrote a second book. I wrote a third. I was too afraid to publish them.
Until I wasn’t.
Just do it.
In May of 2012, I published all three books at Smashwords and Amazon. I freaked out shortly after over the fact that I had put my work up at Amazon, but it was done, and I let it be.
Now I couldn’t stop writing. I started a fourth book, and then a blog. I didn’t want to start a blog, but the thought wouldn’t leave me alone until I did. It seemed a good idea to keep a chronicle of my writing and self-publishing journey. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know any of the finer points of writing or marketing. I was doing everything wrong, but I was oblivious, and there was no one to tell me otherwise, so I simply kept going forward.
Just do it.
I’ve made wonderful friends through blogging, and I’ve learned a lot about writing, self-publishing, and marketing from other bloggers. If I would have had all of this “new” information before I started writing, I probably would have never written my first book. It would have been too daunting.
I didn’t have money for professional editing or expensive marketing, but that didn’t stop me. I’ve kept my sense of humor throughout most of my trials and tribulations. There have been times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and quit, but those feelings passed fairly quickly, and, for the most part, I continue to have fun writing and self-publishing. I’ve made corrections, republished a couple of my titles (numerous times), and I believe my writing has become stronger. There is still a lot to learn.
Will I ever write the great American novel? No. I enjoy my silly fare too much. But I’m happy I followed my instincts and the little voice inside my head that continually says …
Just do it.
Today, I want to encourage you, too – especially new writers. Whether you are toying with the idea of writing a book, or finally on your way and writing, don’t listen to the naysayers, not even the ones in your own mind. Learn what you can when you can, but don’t be afraid to go forward with what you know now and the tools you have on hand. I was as green as they come when I first started.
Just do it.
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Write. Write for fun. Write to entertain yourself. Write because you can. Then publish. It’s a wonderful world that has opened up to us because we can publish our own works.
What about you? What do you tell yourself to keep going forward?
Proud to know you, Maddie. Keep on keepin’ on. 🙂
Thank you, Tim. The feeling is mutual. 🙂
What he said, too 🙂
Haha! You’re the best, Annie! It’s been a pleasure to get to know you.
I tell myself I suck, and need to keep practicing. I also use “if you can’t wow them with quality, bowl them over with quantity”. Occasionally I tell myself “Look, if you don’t write this crap, no one will”. And finally, in those dark hours when I post a story and it gets three reads, and two of them are spammers, I remind myself that in September there were nearly 1.4 million blogs created, and that’s just WordPress . . . that gets me morose, and moroseness fuels my writing.
Emilio, that is some funny stuff – even though I suspect there is some truth in there. “Bowl them over with quantity” – that’s the lane I’m trying to get in. 😉
“If I would have had all of this ‘new’ information before I started writing, I probably would have never written my first book. It would have been too daunting.”—That is so true! When I started my first book, I knew nothing about the writing or publishing world, and it’s just as well. I would have been too scared to undertake it had I known. A bad novel can be edited and improved. A blank page cannot. So as you say, just do it!
Of course, the speed with which you ‘do it’ still astounds me. 🙂
I was fortunate I put three up together while I was still clueless. I was too deep in by then to turn back. My books are only in the 50k-57k range, so it doesn’t really take all that long to get one written. 🙂
Well if I don’t keep going, I stop. That’s enough to keep me going 🙂
No kidding! Stopping is no fun. I don’t even sleep anymore. 🙂
Ha, sleeping is for kids 😀
That’s right. It isn’t even 9:00, and Rich is already asleep on the sofa. Kids!
Hehe lightweights eh?
I’ll wake him around 3 a.m. to go to bed. Definite lightweight!
Good to see you back by the way 🙂
And now you now that for everything else too!
I ponder. For way too long. I have a decent chapter I’ve edited too many times that falls apart in the next chapter.
Great to see you!!!
Hey, Guap! I’m going to put that “Just Do It” slogan to good use here in a minute and clean up my desk.
Editing can be such a killer. Hang in there. I probably should ponder more, but my hyperactive mind propels me forward.
Great to see you, too. I plan on sticking around here through the end of the year with no problem. Looking forward to some great music at your place! 🙂
What a wonderful and remarkable story. I don’t have a desire to write any more than what I do here on WP. But your words or encouragement to Just Do It could be for anything that we want to do but are hesitant to try. I am sure your finished products don’t come by just doing it. Hard work and effort must still play a large part. But once you passed the Just Do It hurdle, I am sure the hard work turned into fun.
Thank you, meme! For me, the writing has always been the fun part. For the rest of it, I do have to make myself focus and buckle down. But this has been such a great ride, and it never feels like “work.” Thanks for stopping by!
You know what I hear in my mind when I want to stop writing? My dad (who I loved to pieces and respected to the ult) said to me one day when we were having a serious discussion. He said, “You are only ‘average’. You come from an average family with average siblings and an average place. You will only ever be average. Accept it and you won’t be disappointed in life.”
Since that day I have tried to prove him wrong. He didn’t say it to hurt, he really didn’t. He was very pragmatic. Me? I am contrary. Tell me I’m just average and I’ll try to prove you wrong.
Thats what I hear in my mind. And so my soul says “I am NOT average!”.
So I am on a journey to show myself I am not average and I don’t have to just settle for average. In the following years I taught myself to paint (I’m pretty darn good too!), and now I’m living my dream of writing. Will I ever write that great American novel. Like you Maddie, probably not, but what I do write makes me happy and shows I am not average. 🙂
Crazy now, that’s a whole different thing! hahaha!
PS: I’m so glad you decided to write books! I love your books!
Thank you, Jackie! You are so sweet. And I agree – you are far from average. You’ve experienced more in your life than the “average” person does in a lifetime – good things and bad things. I’m looking forward to reading about some of them in your NaNo book. I have this character named Jackie in my new book. I think you’ll like her a lot. She’s not average either. 😉
A character named Jackie? Wow you got great taste! hahaha. With you writing, none of your characters are average. That’s a good thing 😉
I meant to comment, too, on your dad. That was actually very good advice. He told you that in love, and for most people, it would serve them well. It was a benefit that it sparked a fire in you. Painting, writing, comics … do you sing, too? 😉
Oh I know my dad said it in love and maybe he was using that to spur me into things. Would be just like him. It worked!
Sing? Sing!? Oh my lady you do NOT want to hear me sing! You know what happens when I sing? My cat attacks me! Truth! So um, no I don’t sing. Well not that others can hear me.
Jackie, if you have time, pop back in here and see Nancy’s message below. She left a comment for you. 🙂
Reading now, thanks lady! 🙂
Hi Maddie, so good to see your new post. I’ve missed reading them. I like that too, “just do it”. It’s good advice and I’ve been practicing that for years, though I didn’t really know that until I read your post. My second book will be published sometime next year and hopefully my third will soon follow. I’m on a roll. I don’t self publish and I can’t write a novel in 1-2 months, but I have gotten faster and become a better writer with each book. My first took 4 years, my second almost 2 and the third, 8 months. I probably won’t get any better than that, but i’ll keep “just doing it” anyway.
Hi, Donna Jean! I know there is no right and wrong way, but it seems to me you are doing everything the right way. Slow and steady wins the race.
Is your first book considered horror? Or is it simply that your main character has intense dreams and psychic abilities? I’ve wanted to read your book, but have always shied away because horror keeps me up at night.
Didn’t even want to start a blog?! Get outta here. And to think, if you didn’t, I wouldn’t have been subjected to that picture of your dog’s artwork.
Hahaha! So sorry about that, Marcus. Something about *your* blog post brought that out in me that day. You are the first person I have ever shown it to. I can barely look at it myself.
You are so motivational (and lovely) and it’s so exciting that you finished something new!
But… I have totally no idea what the quote from the book means, or what drink is in your glass. Ah, sweet mysteries!
Hello, Monk Monkey, you cute little primate. Cornhole is all the rage here. It is a game, and you and your boys would like it. http://bit.ly/17k1u9y My glass has an iced coffee in it. If I make them myself they are made of decaf coffee, sweetener, cream, and plenty of ice. If they come from Starbucks, they have real coffee, loads of sugar, artificial creamer, and ice. Either way, they are tasty. Looking forward to your game!! Squee!!
You ask de questions you get de answers! And a squee for good measure! Squeeeeee!!!
Keep it up, Maddie! It is impossible to know where life will bring us…and that is fascinating. I have never really thought of myself as a writer and now I have blog with just over 80 posts. My sister encouraged me to start one and my first reaction was that I would run out of things to write about! But to this I have not run out of ideas…rather the itch to blog has grown 🙂
Laila, you have one of the loveliest blogs on WordPress. Your photos are always beautiful, your recipes divine, and your children are adorable. It is always a treat to visit your blog. Your sister is very wise. 🙂
I’m going to echo the comment Carrie made above; it’s all good and well that you did it, but you do it so quickly it’s just incredible! 😀
You two are far too kind. I know I’m writing fluff, and it’s much easier than having to paint highly emotional scenes and tension. See quote above – the mother is complaining about the game they’re playing at a family cookout. That was pretty easy to write. 🙂
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That a way Maddie … and good advise to authors. As for me, I don’t write books – and if i did, fiction is not in my skill set.
There are so many other things you do, Frank. Your blog is chock-full of life and glimpses into the many things you do. I’m sure you have applied “just do it” in your life at times.
Correct …. and many thanks!
Go, Maddie! You are an inspiration. It’s hard to take that first plunge, but once you start putting words down on that page, the fun starts. It gets to be addicting. This is why I can’t stop blogging, I enjoy it too much.
Your blog is a hoot, Darla! You do it so well. It’s impossible to read without laughing or walking away with a smile. 🙂 I wonder if that spider made it to the spider hospital in your basement.
hehe….I really hope he didn’t. I still think he’ll come back with his extended family.
Oh, and thank you, Maddie! I’m happy you enjoy it.
You’re welcome. I plan to find the time one day to go back and read what I missed. 🙂
This is great inspiration! It’s funny because my writing motto is “just keep going forward!” I like it because it eliminates all other arguments and rationalizations you can have with yourself.
Thank you, Linda. I agree, just keep going forward. I have to be careful, too, not to think too much about what I’m doing or what I’ve done (when it comes to self-publishing) or the self-doubt will ruin it all. “Just keep going forward!” 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
You are so right, Maddie! I’ve found blogging to be a real help to my tendency to be a perfectionist and to always be second guessing my writing. There’s just not time to do that when you commit to publishing a post everyday. And if it’s not up to your usual standards — you always have another chance to make it better tomorrow! I love that about blogging! 😀
What a beautiful blog, Maddie, and just in time! I needed to read that tonight! The past two years have been stressful for me, to say the least. Many, many times I’ve wanted to give up. In 2012, an author who is very successful with her e-books encouraged me to go Indie. I’m happy that I did. My latest blog is about this and the one-year anniversary of my first two Indie books. Here’s the link if anyone wants to stop by and read it: http://wp.me/p2Rplq-6N
Definitely not as inspiring as your post, Maddie!
And JackieP, my car, whose name coincidentally was Jackie (he died in 2011, while I was in the hospital), hated to hear me sing. He’d complain. A lot. The only songs he liked to hear me sing (well, okay, he put up with them) were “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “You Are My Sunshine.”
Your post is most definitely inspiring, Nancy. You never give up, and you do what you love. I’m sorry for the difficulties you’ve face. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, and am looking forward to reading your books.
Enjoyed gettng to know you, too. 2013 (and part of 12 and 11) has not been easy. Thanks so much for your encouragement. You can tell what letter the computer keyboard s skppng. LOL.
Thanks Nancy, I am going to go and visit your blog. We all go through difficult times, its how we handle them that make us strong. Keep on writing! (Jackie is a great name! Not that I’m prejudiced) 🙂
Thanks, Jack e. Great, great name, Thanks for the encouragement and enjoy the blog!
After all that, I forgot to say what keeps me going. One thing is having my parents (even though they’re now in a nursing home) and friends. Another is reading inspirational words like your blog, Maddie. I saved it and plan to print it out so I can look at it when I’m feeling low (which happens a lot these days). Also remembering my late husband and my friend, Keith, and all the things they used to say to encourage me. Then there’s my friend, Greg, (real life Jay Galloway) who cracks me up sometimes. I loved his imitation of the ex-Cincinnati Reds Manager, Dusty Baker, complete with the famous toothpick. LOL!
You are sweet, Nancy. And yes, memories and family do keep us going, don’t they. I’m so glad you have Greg to make you laugh. Can’t wait to read about him! 🙂
They sure do! Greg’s the best!
Best advice there ever was: Just do It. Love it. I apply it best to my procrastination. ARGH!
I have to apply it more to my writing now that you’ve dished out those words! 🙂
I thought this would be good for a NaNo participant. 😉 Don’t worry about it every day. Just do it. Write, man, write! Plan now, so you can hit the ground running, er, writing. 🙂
Definitely good for NaNo. I have a feeling I won’t be as successfuly as last year, though. We’ll see!
I write because I can’t help it. And you hit the nail on the head: Just do it! Park your butt in a chair and write.
I’m so glad YOU did. 🙂
Thank you, Juliann!
So I signed up for NaNoWriMo today. I was a little worried because for the last two years around November and December have been pretty bad for me. I did it anyway. I have two WIPs that I’m working on. Maybe I will actually finish.
Nancy, what is your “handle” there? If you want to be buddies, I’m Breezy Books (with the space). My avatar is the dog on the front of my Big Easy Hunter book.
Nancy Goldberg Lev ne (great, now my name’s screwed up. Would love that!
Thanks for this!! Yes, you are so right!! If I don’t just do it and stop all the doubt about my first novel I will also just let it rot on the shelf… 😉
I’ve got going again with part 2 of the story… soon I’ll have part one ready for self publishing… interesting days!!
Hi A.J.! So glad you are working on your story and almost ready to publish!! I have another code for you and am dropping an email to you shortly. (Excuse the edit. Will explain in an email.)
“If you don’t write about the madness around you, you’ll most likely go postal, so keep going, Hook.”
Yes, I refer to myself as “Hook” when doing the third-person thing.
Great post, Maddie!
A very good quote it is! Thank you, Hook. 🙂
Holy commented thread, batwoman! I had to scroll forever just to tell you I think your writing spot is fab.
Thank you! I love being tucked in the corner out there. I can watch the world go by, but people rarely realize I’m out there. I’ve already dragged a heater onto the deck on chilly days. 🙂
Great pep talk, Maddie! I was thinking about doing Nanowrimo this year – this defs gave me a push!
Hi Kate!! Glad I could light a bit of a fire under you. If you do NaNo, Let me know. I’ll add you as a buddy. 🙂
Hi Maddie! Yep, plan to. Add me – I’m unbrevityness over there 🙂
I added you, Kate! I’m still writing the Susan Hunter book, so I might not start NaNo on November 1st, but I’ll be on board no later than the 10th. 🙂
Like TW Dittmar, I too am ;proud to know you, Maddie. Not all of us can write novels, no matter how much we wish we could. having said that your urging us to ‘Just Do It’ is just as inspirational for those of us who write other things. I’m a great believer in allowing myself five minutes of ‘writer’s block’ agonising before getting on with things and writing myself out of it. 🙂
Oh, I’m definitely proud to know you, Mary. I’m so glad I went searching for “grandmothers” one day. 😉 I love the just do it mindset. Writing out of a ‘writer’s block’ is a great idea. Sometimes if I’m stumped, I just eat more M&M’s. 😉
There is some fantastic advise & some inspiring words in this post, Maddie.
I’m sorry I got to it late. We’ve just been crazy busy with a lot of my son’s school-related stuff as of late. I see why you took the home-schooling route. I swear, if this keeps up – we might do the same.
Anywho, I love you & I’m glad you are well. 😀
It’s so odd that I came here to look at this post tonight and see you here at the bottom without a response. I probably read your comment in the crazy little orange thingy and then forgot to come back here. I’m sorry. But it’s an excuse to chat with you for a minute tonight – and tell you I love you, too, and hope you are well and keeping warm. I’ll feel so much better when I can get back to writing outside! I should hang something pink on the deck rail to keep my spirits bright out there. Or something orange for my new character. 🙂 Are you writing very much these days?
It’s because you e-mailed me the response. lol I’ve been writing in chunks but nothing worth fully publishing yet. It’s been hard with so much going on. I’m thinking about publishing the 2 children’s stories I already have up here, though.
I told our son last night that as enjoyable as it is to visit with him at 2:30 in the morning (and go to be around 4 a.m.), my brain is becoming muddled from late nights and too little sleep. I remember the email to you, but didn’t remember it was in response to this comment. It used to be that I could always remember anything!
Glad to hear you’re thinking about publishing your children’s stories. 🙂
Some friends & family nudged me too. They said they’re really good. Especially this one -> The Tiny Adventure of the Moon