Episode 31 – Year Two of the New Writer Podcast

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This week marks the one-year anniversary of New Writer Podcast. The last year has been… something. The show has struggled to find its footing while I was going through very similar growing pains. It very nearly died, and I have to admit, so did my writing career. The reasons were not unrelated.

I had this idea in my head of what I wanted my writing career to be, and I had an idea in my head of what I wanted this show to be. Neither were panning out exactly the way I had dreamed. I got discouraged, and honestly, I got a little depressed. That isn’t really anything new for me. I just felt like I needed to take some time away. Fortunately for me, there are things in life that won’t let you give up on them and I started experimenting on new ways to get myself both back in the chair and in front of the microphone.

It probably turned out the be the best thing that ever could have happened, because just forcing myself to come up with 10-15 minutes of content every week made me really start examining why I wanted to do this show in the first place.

I came into New Writer Podcast with my original intention being to interview other writers on the same level I am, just getting started and having trouble finding and audience. It didn’t work, probably because I’m genuinely not good at reaching out to people and begging for them to come on the show. I’m also not good at corralling the guests that did agree to come on into actually appearing at any of the scheduled times. I had a lot of setbacks with the interview format that really just knocked the wind out of my sails. I lost consistency and drive.

When I finally just said, “Alright, I’ll just make content and keep making content,” I felt a shift in my entire podcasting experience. Things seemed to make more sense for me, and I felt better about them. I actually started doing things like figuring out my topics before I recorded. I got on a schedule. I’ve managed to keep it now for almost two months.

I opened up every author’s favorite software companion, Scrivener and began outlining episodes before I recorded them. To fill space, I put in the weekly update on my sales and writing. I kept going, and eventually I began to realize I enjoy doing this as much as I enjoy writing, blogging, and doodling. I might have to add “Podcaster” to my tagline soon.

What has solidified all of this as the right thing to be doing for me right now, though, was something I kept hearing pop up over and over in the Indie Author Atmosphere: Transparency.

That thing I was doing each week, giving out my sales data and sharing my word counts, it was something people needed.

It was something I needed. I needed to be able to say, “No, I’m still growing and doing okay. This isn’t about making millions instantly. It’s okay to spend time building everything up.”

I’m not a massive success as an author, yet. I’m not making a living. I’m not going to be able to sit here and tell you about how you can make your book sales soar. What I can do is tell you, “you’re not alone.”  And, I’ll do my best to find new solutions and tools for you along the way.

I’m dedicated to this in the long haul. Are you?

Since this is the one year anniversary, I wanted to give you guys a bit of a preview of the new format I’m going to have for Year 2. Basically, I’ve created a 4 episode rotation with a few slots open for wild cards. I’m hoping I can fill those slots with interviews, but if not, I’m sure I can find a good use of your time.

For starters, I’ve decided to move from doing a weekly update to doing a monthly update. Honestly, I love being transparent and sharing my sales and progress with you guys, but it really is counterproductive for me to check on my sales as often as I do, and I think it might be time for me to go nuclear on that. I think if I only let myself check on sales once per month, I’ll be a little happier. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep myself from checking my sales two or three times an hour, but I’m going to make a Herculean effort.

After figuring that part out, I knew I still needed three other topics each month. Which worked out well, because I wanted to be useful and encouraging. That made it easy for me to dedicate one show each month to finding and evaluating new tools for writers, one show for answering questions I’ve received, and one show each month for directly addressing my emotions.

So, before I leave you this week, I just wanted to give you a little preview of what is to come.

Dear Writer,

I know you’re afraid. I know what it feels like to finish writing a book and wonder if it is good enough. I know what it feels like to dread anyone discovering your dirty writing secret. I know how it feels to have someone slip down through the pages of your manuscript as you hover nearby with nothing to do but bite your nails down to tiny nubs.

Trust me. I know.

I wish I could tell you that anxiety and fear go away, but I can’t. It’s been 18 months since I published my first book, and I still get nervous when someone I know is reading it. I have convinced myself it’s garbage. Even when I get good reviews, I can’t believe them. I won’t believe them. I have to assume there is something wrong with anyone who likes my book.

But, there’s not. I’m not going out and coercing anyone into being a fan, and yeah, you might only have a handful of people on your mailing list, but I want you to remember something.

Those people are people.

They are real human beings who have decided they like your work. They enjoy your book. It resonates with them and suits their fancy. Even if you look back on that book and decide you hate it, it is disrespectful to those people, or even that one person, who loved it. So, accept it. Accept that there are people out there who like you and your writing.

And try not to be afraid anymore.

Until Next Week,

Matt

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