Surviving the Ups and Downs
Posted by Nancy Northcott Mar 2 2011, 5:20 am
Gerri Russell returns to the Lair today. She’s an award-winning author known for her adventurous and emotionally intense novels set in 13th and 14th Century Scottish Highlands. Her most notable series to date is that of the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars. She is a two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award and winner of the American Title II competition sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and Romantic Times BookReviews Magazine.
Today’s visit, though, will be a little different, as Gerri will explain.
No matter how successful fiction novelists are, they will always have ups and downs in their careers. Sometimes the downs come because of a changing market, a change in technology, or in my case lately, a change within my own publishing house. It’s no secret that Dorchester Publishing has been going through some difficult times, as have their authors. But being the “glass is half full” kind of person that I am, I’m choosing to look upon what’s happened to me and my books over the past year as an opportunity for change.
You will not find my book in any brick and mortar book store, and very soon you will not find them in electronic form either, because the rights for all of my books, five published and two yet-to-be-published works, will revert to me by the end of this month. Personally, it will be a moment of great celebration and the beginning of something new and wonderful.
I love being in the lair with the Romance Bandits. I’ve visited here before when I’ve had new releases and great things to share. But I wanted to slip into the lair today to share something else that I’ve learned over the past year, and that is how to ride the highs and lows of a writing career without losing balance or momentum. Whether you’re just getting started in your career, you’re an experienced writer in or out of a slump, or a reader who wonders why their favorite authors are not publishing new books at the moment, I hope the following tips will help.
1. Diversify your writing. Every writer, fiction or otherwise, must always look for new writing opportunities. This way, if you do stumble into a slump with one publisher or one specific genre, you’ll have another area to develop.
2. Maintain a blog or a website. Having a place to regularly write not only validates you as a writer, it’s a great place to explore your interests, allow for visiting “experts”, and allows you to grow as a writer in your own skills and in educating/entertaining your audience.
3. Do some sort of work that is not writing-related. Do something for yourself that either feeds your passion or your pocketbook. Finding ways to get away from your writing helps with the insecurities that come with our chosen profession by generating new ideas, writing inspiration, character developments, plot twists, etc. By leaving the writing behind, it truly helps keep the creative juices flowing, and sometimes helps deal with the financial droughts that come with the job as well.
4. Network with other writers and other professionals. Spend time with other writers in groups such as Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, etc. But also explore opportunities to be with other professionals as well. Find other organizations that cater to entrepreneurs where you can network and share ideas and energy with people who are building and maintaining their own businesses. Learn how they cope with the highs and lows of success.
5. Share your knowledge. Even if you are not publishing at the moment, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be shared. You can keep your name out there in publishing circles by writing regular columns for magazines, guest blog on popular blogging sites, or write for trade publications that will still help you keep your writing skills sharp.
6. Never lose faith in yourself or your dreams. It always comes back to this. You decided to be a writer for some reason. You had something to say…a story to tell…a need to communicate with others. It’s a gift. Don’t take it lightly. Highs and lows are normal in any occupation. The trick is to learn how to ride them out, to keep your focus, and celebrate making it through the low times.
For more about Gerri and her work, visit her website.
Do you have any other tips to share? How have you made it through a difficult time in your life or your career?
Posted in Gerri Russell, writing life