It occurred to me this morning that as I begin the publishing process on my new children’s book, Weaver Pond Stories, I have been telling myself (and everyone in earshot) how much I hate marketing. I know that equal parts of fear and the need for personal privacy mixed together are at the bottom of this self-talk. Mind you, I’ve done some successful marketing for both my husband’s and my music store and my poetry book, In the Heart of a Quiet Garden. But this morning I realized that what I’ve been telling myself about marketing could stop me from moving forward successfully.
In reality, I actually enjoyed the marketing I’ve done in the past—though at first it made me nervous. The success I had in this area gave me confidence. So, why do I tell myself that I hate it? One reason might be that I hear it all the time from my fellow authors. (Perhaps I just want to be part of the group? 🙂 Or perhaps their attitudes are just rubbing off on me.) But the fact is that I’m just as anxious and fearful when I begin a new writing project—and I love to write! It is perfectly normal to have questions when you do anything for the first time: Can I do it? Do I have the talent? The time? The stamina? Will I fall on my face? Most authors deal with the same questions. But I can’t let the questions stop me.
So what do I do about this new self-realization? First and foremost, I need to present myself authentically: I don’t hate marketing. My experience is not sufficient to make that decision. An authentic statement might be: I have enjoyed and been fairly successful at marketing in the past, but I am still a bit anxious as I begin this new and bigger project
Second, garnering the support of others whenever I begin a new segment of a project increases confidence. I recently did that, consulting with those who have wide experience in marketing and listening to advice as they try to guide me away from pitfalls and toward tested, reliable processes. Early on, writers find out that being a successful author requires a community of helpers—from professional organizations, critique groups and readers, editors and publishers to marketing support. No one does it alone!
Third, I need to think only of the next decision. Dwelling on a complete project and how it will begin and end is too much. What is necessary is to put one foot in front of the other—one step at a time. Besides, anyone who has been a project manager knows that a flexible decision process is important if one is to deal with unexpected situations that always arise. It is impossible to anticipate every step, and the attempt to do so can paralyze the process.
The result of this morning’s awakening should be to change my self-talk, to enlist the help of others and to remember to proceed by putting one foot in front of the other as I move into the marketing phase of Weaver Pond Stories. I must remember that if I repeat something negative over and over, I will come to believe it—and make it true. However, the same is true of positive, authentic statements.
As a result of this awakening, I know that I will become the writer I tell myself I am—only now it will be an authentic, positive message. Going forward, I plan to keep that in mind.