Who Is Mistral Dawn?
Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Captivated By The Winter King
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Monday, August 31, 2015
#Do It! :-)
Hey Everyone!! :-)
The title says it all here: Do It!! Lately, I've been hearing a lot of people talking about things they'd like to do "someday" and about the doubts and fears that have prevented them from doing those things already. Well, it's kind of got me down. I mean, everyone has doubts and fears and, if we let them, they'll always keep us from doing the things we dream of. There's always an excuse, always something else to do. Everyone is busy, and that's not going to change.
So, in case you haven't realized it yet, I'd just like to point out that "someday" is the day that comes right after "never." If you want to do something, DO IT! Yes, it will mean that there's something else that didn't get done. Maybe that something else was time you would have spent on Facebook or in front of the television, or maybe it means giving up some sleep or rearranging your schedule to be more efficient. Maybe you'll have to tell your family and friends that they'll have to figure out a way to survive without you for an hour, but that time is your time, and you'll guard it jealously. Maybe it means putting pennies in a jar until you have enough cash saved up.
The sacrifice will depend on you, and what it is you want to do. But it's worth it, if that's your dream. Whatever the sacrifice you have to make, if it's something important to you then figure out a way to make it! It won't be easy. When's the last time anything worth doing was easy? Easy isn't the point. The point is how you'll feel once you've done it. And don't let difficulties dissuade you, either!
For example, as an author I participate in several author groups. One thing that every group has in common is authors who are discouraged. Sometimes they're discouraged because they don't think their writing is any good. Well, how many people here were experts at something the first time they did it? *crickets chirping* Hmm...how about the second time? Still no one? Wow, imagine that, it takes practice and dedication to perfect a skill! Who'd a thunk it? Face it folks, human beings are born knowing how to do exactly two things: grasp and suck. Everything else is an acquired skill, and it takes time and patience to acquire most of those skills. Why should writing be any different?
If you think your skill at any given occupation (including writing) needs improvement, then practice! You know another way to say practice? Do It! Whatever it is, do it, see how it turns out, identify areas that need improvement, and do it again! That's how you learn anything, and that's how you become good at anything. From time to time, it's also a good idea to solicit other people's opinions so you don't end up just spinning your wheels. But you have to have done something for them to opine on first!
If you're a writer, then there are a myriad of authors' groups, clubs, beta reading groups, writing classes, etc, etc. Both in the real world and on the internet. Find one or more and join them! A lot of them are free, so not having money isn't an obstacle. If your passion is something other than writing, do a little research. I can almost guarantee someone, somewhere has created a group or club about it. Find them and ask if you can play in their sandbox too. Most people like hanging out with other people who enjoy the same things, so they'll probably say yes. If not, or if you really and truly can't find such a group, then make your own group!! Facebook is great for that, and it's free, easy to use, and available most places where you have an internet connection.
Some of the complaints I've heard from other writers are about not having ideas or not knowing how to organize those ideas. Well, I can tell you one thing: that pot is never going to boil if you don't turn on the heat! So sit down with your pad and pencil, in front of your keyboard, or with your cuneiform tablet...you know, whatever your media of choice is ;-) ...and start putting something down! It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't even have to make sense, it just has to be there!! How long do you think it will be before you have something that you can at least clean up, expand on, or play with in some other way to make it what you want it to be? The same principle applies to any other creative endeavor: Get Started And DO IT!
I've also heard some authors complain that they are having a hard time getting people to buy and read their books. This one is harder. After all, it doesn't matter how good your writing is or how engaging your story is, if no one knows about it. And getting people to know about it involves at least one of two things: luck or marketing. Luck, as many poets have pondered, is a fickle mistress, not to be counted on. Marketing works, and there's a whole branch of psychology that focuses on how it works, what works best, and how to use the first two pieces of information to create effective marketing strategies. Rather dry reading, but useful if you want to sell something. Unfortunately, marketing also takes time and money. Either of which may be hard for you to justify spending since marketing isn't your passion, creating is.
So you've got to ask yourself a question: how important are sales to you? Don't misunderstand, I'm absolutely not knocking the profit motive here. I'll be over-the-moon thrilled, turning cartwheels, and screaming it out to the world if I ever reach a point where I can make a living from my stories. It think it's almost every writer's dream to have their work sell, and for people to enjoy it. But the fact remains, you can still write even if no one buys what you wrote. There's no law limiting creative works to those that have proven themselves of commercial value.
This post isn't meant for those who only want to do something in order to earn money. There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, most of us have to perform some kind of labor or task in exchange for cash in order to survive. That's called being an adult. If you are doing something with the sole purpose of being able to live on the proceeds, and the proceeds aren't forthcoming, then stop doing it. Only you can decide why you're doing whatever it is your doing.
But I'm not writing about adulting here, I'm writing about dreams. If it's your dream to write, then DO IT! If it's your dream to make money writing, then you'll have to put in the work. Just like with any goal, there are steps you have to follow to achieve it. When it comes to selling books, part of that work is marketing. Your success probably won't happen overnight, success in anything rarely happens quickly, but eventually you'll probably see some improvement. Will it be the kind of improvement you're dreaming of? Eh, maybe, maybe not. You know what they say: "Aim for the stars, even if you miss you'll climb high." But I can guarantee you'll never get there if you don't try.
I know a lot of the specific examples I used here had to do with writing, duh I'm a writer ;-) , but the same principles can be applied to just about anything. If you want to do something, put aside the excuses, give yourself a kick in the pants, and DO IT! No one else is going to make your dreams come true, only you can make them happen.