I don’t mean here the pace in a story though that is of course important. I’m talking here more about pace in the writer’s life.
The difference between selling and not selling and between being published and not being published
We all probably recognise that that has little to do with the quality of the work. Given that the writing is good, it won’t be published unless it gets to the right publisher at the right time and once published it won’t sell unless both writer and publisher make the right sort of marketing moves. We have to be proactive both in sending out to publishers, in marketing our work and creating helpful publicity around it.
A proactive strategy
Form January until April this year I decided to be much more proactive. Every day I would do the most proactive thing that occurred to me as well as continuing the routine. The writing time is never a problem. That is sacrosanct and as easy as falling off a log. But I brought into my routine something each day that scared me a little. So, I’d arrange a reading with some writing friends, invite a well-known author to be a visiting professor at the HE institution where I teach or contact a bookshop about doing a signing.
It all went well. Sales picked up. Out of the blue I was invited to do all sorts of talks. One of my writing-related projects really began to take off.
I suddenly became very ill – I contracted a really nasty ‘flu’ – despite having had the vaccine. I was almost too ill to do one of my talks or to enjoy my reading with my writing friends. And frankly I wasn’t happy. I had to brace myself every day and I was worried about the routine things that weren’t getting done.
Pace and balance
Clearly these things must be done and clearly they are effective. But they mustn’t make you ill or unhappy. I’ve now taken a slightly different tack.
First, I’ve learnt not to be afraid. The word “no” doesn’t ever hurt and somebody may also say yes. Yes, occasionally you have to stretch yourself a little. I’ve also made the proactive action more of the general routine. I don’t ignore what else must also be done. I’m just gradually upping my game and raising my vision.
Will it all work?
We’ll see. Watch this space.