It's been said time and time again that overthinking kills happiness. We've all heard it before and more than likely have agreed with the statement at some point. Why then is it so difficult to adhere to its message? Certainly no one is trying to be unhappy. Could it be fear of trial? We're all advocates to the saying until left alone to face it head on. One glimpse of a challenge along our unrealistic smooth, straight path is often all it takes to give in to the contagious nature of doubt.
Before making the decision to pursue self-publishing, I made it my goal to gain as much knowledge as possible beforehand to know what I was up against. I consider myself a control freak; knowledge is my superpower. The more I know, the better I can approach the situation. Be advised however, that the purpose of making the Oleah Chronicles a reality was not to become the next J.K. Rowling. Far from it. The purpose was to share a story that I fell in love with and I hope that others might be able to relate to and enjoy the story with the same passion.
So I set off on my quest, reading countless blogs and articles on what to expect and not to expect as a first-time author and self-publisher and yet I still find myself taken aback by the outcome, knowing in the back of my head that Rome was not built in a day. However, I’m still finding it confusing that these so-called "foolproof" methods are not magically making me run faster than everyone else.
I decided then, to go back and double check that I followed steps one through five efficiently and effectively:
1. Create a presence online. Check!
2. Free giveaways. Check!
3. Market, market, market. Triple check!
4. Brand, brand, brand. Noted and check!
5. Be consistent. Okay, got it! Thanks!
So ... what's the hold up?
That's when it hit me: I've been infected. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of my goal and let my defences down, thus allowing myself to become vulnerable to the virus that is overthinking. Of course my solution was to quickly seek remedy, but I have found myself at the same walk-in clinic, waiting in line (the end of the line) with countless other authors experiencing the same symptoms.
Maya Angelou once said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Many authors - myself included - develop tunnel vision: getting caught up in the beauty of the end goal - the butterfly - and becoming discouraged when we realize that we don't just wake up one day with everything we've ever wanted. We have to work for it like everything else, and it takes time. If I ever expect to one day become the "butterfly", I must continue on as the caterpillar, working hard each day on my cocoon until it's finally ready for me to step inside and begin my transformation.
So how does one go about doing this?
For starters, break the habit of overthinking and obsessing, and make a new habit of creating short-term goals that can be easily achieved. The little successes along the way will promote motivation and better productivity, which bring with them a sense of accomplishment. Self-affirmations go a long way as well. No, they're not just for hipsters. They're important for newborn and veteran authors alike. It builds confidence and strengthens the mind against doubt. Lastly, understand that quality outweighs quantity. Shortcuts are great and everything, and will get you ahead for a while, but like all fad diets, it won't last long. The quality of your efforts, time and writing will eventually speak for itself.
I'm looking forward to one day meeting my butterfly. Aren't you?