Did you know that only 3% of writers go on to finish their book? This is alarming especially when you look at why people write in the first place.
Writing is a wonderful gift. You write because it is what you love to do. Writing gives you the freedom to express who you are, be whoever you want. Everything you control is right at your fingertips. Writing empowers, entertains, moves, persuades.
It is simply powerful, yet alarmingly the statistics show that for every 100 writers who intend to finish their book, only 3 do. That is a staggering 3% who finish their book. Things look really bleak when we look at how many writers actually go on to publish their book. About 1 in 5 or 20%. That is absolutely startling.
- If you are in the 3% who finished your book-Congratulations!
- If you then went on to publish-Major Congratulations! You are amongst a very small minority of writers.
- If you have not finished your book or have finished but done nothing with it-take heart! You are in the right place.
I too found myself struggling to finish some of my work. Parts of one of my books was plain sailing and for other parts, I felt like I was wading in treacle. It was a slog, getting me down, tedious. I felt like I had lost direction and sometimes I had to change direction just to get back on track.
Do you know what I mean?
Then when I finally got finished it was Halleluiah time. I had done it. Euphoria! Then when things settle, it was like ‘Oh what do I do now?’
Here I was. I had toiled over something I was determined to finish, and after many stop –starts, I had done it.
Suddenly fear and doubt started to creep in.
These are the same fears and doubts many authors experience, and it is all very normal.
However, these feelings can paralyze you and your creative ability if you allow them to take over.
Here are the 5 fears I had to overcome. Can you relate to these?
- Like me, you might find yourself putting publishing on the long finger. You will get around to it sometime, someday. However, when you lose momentum, it is very hard to get back. Things stagnate and the passion and effort you put into your book fade into a distant memory.
- You feel your book isn’t perfect or good enough. Let’s face it. Whose is? Especially the first time. That is why you leave it in the capable hands of an editor who will take care of all this for you.
- You don’t know where to go from here. You may feel overwhelmed. I did. There are lots of choices but there is also a lot of information out there to take in. Ask questions. There are no stupid questions. Answers will come. Go with what makes sense to you.
- Writing cost you time but it costs money to get your book published. There are a lot of prices out there but you don’t really know what to go with. You need to choose wisely. Again you have lots of options. What works best for you? Again procrastination and overwhelm can set in. I did it myself and it was a huge time investment learning everything the first time around. Even things you think you know, you will know a lot more with every book you publish.
What if things don’t work out, your book doesn’t sell very well, and you can’t make your money back?
This is all linked to fear of the unknown and self-doubt. These feelings are very common. If you never had to step outside your comfort zone, you would be protected. If you played it safe all the time and didn’t follow your dreams things would be different. Things would be the same.
I know how you feel because I encountered these challenges before I published.
It took me time to build up the courage to finally let go of my first book. I still remember that moment, nervousness mixed with excitement. Even when I finally hit the ‘Publish’ button I was between two minds.
What if I fell flat on my face? What if people hated my book and told me this in no uncertain terms? The way I saw it, the writing was an extension of myself. I was putting myself out there. I was vulnerable. Nowhere to hide (I hadn’t used a pen name!).
Instead, I got praise from family and friends and many well-wishers. My ability to write grew with every book. I was back to writing because I loved it. This was the reason I wrote in the first place. People say they write because they want to make a living as an author or generate a part-time income and this is all good. It is good to have something to work toward. However, I am sure the main reason for writing is pure love for what you do. Otherwise, there would be easier ways to make money.
The first time I held a print copy of my book was momentous. It was something tangible. I had done it! Everything I had put into the book, was before me in my hands.
Every author I have since published has experienced this feeling of achievement, confirmation of self-belief, a deep feeling of self-acknowledgment that ‘I finally did it!’ This feeling is priceless.
If you can relate to some or all of the fears around publishing I listed above, know that you are not alone. I have been there. We all have. The thing is that the writers who had the same fears formed part of the 3% who went on to publish, pulling away from the 97% who did nothing after all their hard work.
Which statistic do you want to be in? 3 % or 97%.
The good news is that YOU get to make that call.