“Tell your stories,”they said. “Oh, we like these. Write a book,” they said. So, I did. I didn’t really know anything about writing a book. So, I worked to get words on the page. My brain still thinks of the computer screen as a page. Even though, I haven’t used anything but a laptop to write for years. I didn’t know what I didn’t know---about writing a book, publishing it--- and the Marketing…
In the Beginning
I had the idea to enter my stories in contests. A short piece I submitted to my writers’ club contest was well received. So why not try another contest? Maybe later, I’d put them in a collection. As I explored different contests, I realized someone else could hold rights to my words, my work. I became very possessive of my stories.
I made a major decision, still not knowing what I didn’t know. I would write a book of creative nonfiction, a memoir, if you will. It’s surreal to think of writing a memoir; I’m not done yet. Many times, during the process, I kept saying, ‘I’m just a regular person. I’ve done nothing heroic. I raised a family. I became a nurse.’ “Stories about regular people are important,” they said. I kept writing.
Then I realized I knew little about crafting a story which would captivate a reader or how to publish and market a book. I knew a lot about reading. I watched and read every free thing I could find about writing. (The budget of a semiretired nurse doesn’t allow for fees for writing conferences.) A thorough analysis made me realize I wouldn’t likely attract an agent or fit in with most major publishing companies. That left self-publishing and marketing the book myself.
Edit, Revise, Repeat
After several repeats of the editing and revising process, I figured out how to self-publish my creative nonfiction book through Kindle Direct Publishing. I’ve even sold a few copies, and not just to my family members. Now I’m trying to understand this business of marketing. “You need a website and a newsletter,” they said. So, I did these things. Some days, I’m ready to throw up my hands in frustration, but I keep reading and working on the plan. I’ve also learned some plans have to be fluid. When you don’t know what you don’t know, things take longer.
During all of this, I kept writing. Some days were easier. I learned to give myself a word count goal. Something to strive for. I know about reaching goals and sticking to a plan. To my amazement, I discovered a certainty fluidity in writing. It ebbs and flows and eventually takes on a life of its own. After a little over a year, I published A Crazy Quilt Life this past June and released it as an eBook on Kindle in July.
There’s still so much I don’t know. Oh, my. What I know is having written one book, there are stories swirling around in my head. I’m writing a novel. Callie, the main character, harasses me to tell her story. So, I keep writing and learning.
The point of this is not to limit yourself by “I don’t know”. If you have a passion, a desire to do something. Explore it. Apply the things you do know to your new endeavor. For me, this means more Marketing… fine tuning the website… writing a regular newsletter… developing a presence on social media. Oh, my! For you? There’s no telling what you can accomplish if you jump in despite what you don’t know.