7 Lessons I’ve Learned So Far…

Alas, Pub Crawl readers, the time has come for me to make my exit. I’ve been writing for this blog since 2012 and it’s been a blast. From sharing publishing insights and craft advice, to engaging in wonderful discussions via the comments, to just geeking out over books and pop culture, I’ve had so much fun contributing to Pub Crawl!

But I also can’t ignore the fact that I am stretched too thin, that my writing time is precious and I need to guard it fiercely. It was a hard decision, but I need to cut back on my blogging obligations. I’ll still be writing books and sharing advice (via my blog, newsletter, and social media outlets), I just won’t be doing it here on Pub Crawl.

Before I go, and as Alex Bracken and Amie Kauffman have done before me, I’d like to share a few lessons I’ve learned since entering the publishing industry…

1 — ADAPT

There is no perfect time to write, and there is no perfect place to do so. You might have an ideal—your dream writing day/situation—but if you sit around waiting for it, you’re burning precious hours. In the words of Tim Gunn, you just need to “make it work.” I wrote my debut in half hour sprints after work and on the weekends. Then I became a full time writer and had all the time in the world. It was marvelous. Of course, I now have a one-year-old and am back to writing in sprints and cramming copy-edits in during naps and brainstorming while I push the stroller. All this to say: nothing is life is constant. Be prepared to write under any circumstance.

2 — YOU ARE NOT YOUR BOOK

If your book tanks, that doesn’t define you. If your book is a massive hit, that doesn’t define you either. Your identity is not tied to the success of your books. Remember that age-old mantra, The only thing you can control is the words? Well, it’s true. So don’t let your happiness be tied to things you can’t control, like sales numbers and best-seller lists. Find other passions and hobbies. Spend time with friends and family. Love writing, but live outside it too.

3 — SHARE KNOWLEDGE

I only made it through my debut season without going insane because kind, thoughtful, gracious writers who were ahead of me in their journey reached back and told me what to expect. They shared knowledge. They acted as a sounding board. They pulled back the curtain. Publishing can often feel like a giant mystery, like you’re wandering down a road-blocked, pothole-ridden street while wearing a blindfold. Help your fellow writers out. Pay-it-forward. We’re all in this together, I promise you.

4 — TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK

Seriously. You’re allowed. As soon as you start feeling burned out, that you can’t keep up with the tweets, that the fun’s been sucked out of tumblr and that your networks are just another thing you have to maintain, STEP AWAY. Take a week or two off. Maybe more! The internet isn’t going anywhere. It will carry on just fine without you and it will be there when you get back. You’ll be amazed at how much you don’t miss, and how rejuvenated you feel when you finally return.

5 — CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Write outside your comfort zone. Explore new genres. Take risks. Do something that scares you. The only way you grow as a writer is by trying new things. Comfort—writing only what feels safe—will keep you stale. It will stall your growth. And aren’t we all trying to grow?

6 — DISSECT EVERYTHING

Storytelling is everywhere, so when you watch a movie, binge a TV show, read a book, look at a photo, listen to song lyrics, peruse a gallery… take note of what you love. What works? What inspires you? On the other hand, what do you hate? What would you change? Apply that to your own writing.

7 — ENJOY THE NOW

The grass is always greener ahead. The future holds great promise. It could be when you land an agent, sell that book, get a movie deal, go on tour, hit a list, get showered with awards, and so on. But if you’re too busy looking ahead, you’ll miss the things happening now. And remember my point in #2? Those fancy things are wonderful, but journeys without them aren’t pointless journeys. Remember to live your life. Be present in the moment. Tomorrow is going to happen no matter what, so make sure you enjoy today.

     

10 Responses to 7 Lessons I’ve Learned So Far…

  1. Stacey Campbell Oct 23 2015 at 9:42 am #

    This was such an inspirational post to go out with. Thanks for the advice and insights on pub crawl over the years and for paying it forward.

    • Erin
      Erin Oct 24 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      Thanks, Stacey! It’s been a pleasure contributing to this blog over the years.

  2. Mary Hickman Oct 23 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Great message…am applying what you said to my art of designing mandalas!!!!

    • Erin
      Erin Oct 24 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      Best of luck with your work, Mary!

  3. JJ
    JJ Oct 23 2015 at 10:05 am #

    We’ll miss you!!! Thanks for all you’ve done for us at PubCrawl, including all the design stuff! You’re always welcome to come back for a guest post, or to be a guest on our podcast!

    • Erin
      Erin Oct 24 2015 at 3:01 pm #

      Wahhh, I’m gonna miss you guys too! *wipes tears* I’ll be back for the occasional guest post, for sure!

  4. Alexa S. Oct 23 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Aww, Erin, I LOVE YOU <3 So glad I got introduced to you all those years ago. Let's be sure to keep chatting on Twitter, okay? 🙂

    • Erin
      Erin Oct 24 2015 at 3:01 pm #

      My twitter is going nowhere! I’ll see you there and on insta/tumblr/etc. 🙂 <3

  5. Melody Simpson Oct 24 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Thank you so much for all that you’ve shared through PubCrawl, it means SO much!!! <3

    • Erin
      Erin Oct 24 2015 at 3:02 pm #

      Awww, thanks Melody! This comment of yours means a lot. So glad some of my posts have been helpful. <3

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