Take Care Of You - Resolutions - Indie Pub It
This is the final post in a continuing series on small changes you can make throughout the year, instead of sweeping, scary New Year resolutions that tend to crash and burn long before you read this post.
Each suggested task is a year-long adjustment to your indie business that could reap some very nice rewards.
Indie publishing is a game won by increments. Most of us write in small doses because we don’t have the luxury of full time writing. We squeeze production into our spare time. We don’t hit best seller lists the first month out but (often) end up selling more over the long term than last month’s #1; a copy here, a copy there.
Check the intro post from January for more on this idea, if you haven’t seen it already.
Here’s the on-going list of tasks:
January: Review Your Backlist
February: Strengthen Your Sales Pipeline
March: Improve Your Hourly Word Rate (Prolificacy, Part I)
April: Write More Words This Year Than Last Year (Prolificacy, Part II)
May: Refine Your Production Process
June: Refine Your Production Schedule
July: Schedule Your Promotions
August: Improve Your Product
September: Add More Sales Channels and Formats
October: Measure Your Results the Smart Way
November: Take Care of your Business Affairs
December: Take Care Of You.
Why take care of yourself?
The Internet is stuffed with advice on how to take better care of yourself. I don’t intend to replicate any of that advice here.
We indie authors are running hectic lives, with the day job, a writing career that would be full-time if we could let it, and the constant and steep learning curve in front of us. The publishing industry changes shape every day, and there’s always something else added to the list of things we need to take care of.
This article series has spent a year outlining things you can do to improve your business. This last month of the year, when indulgence is rife, I’d like you to consider the most critical element of your business that most people overlook: yourself.
Quite apart from longevity and sanity, there are some very interesting reasons why taking care of yourself both physically and mentally can pay off big time for your writing.
The longer you live, the longer you can write. In addition, the longer you live with your mental facilities intact, the more books you can finish. I don’t know about you but that sounds like good news to me, as the list of books I would like to write extends for years. I would like to get all of those written!
Simple improvements to your mental and physical health will make immediate impact and improvement upon your creativity. For example, there are oodles of research projects demonstrating that regular exercise increases mental clarity. It helps you think faster and better, and lets you make ephemeral connections and unexpected parallels that help increase the creativity of your storytelling.
I don’t need to tell you what to do to improve your mental and physical health. I’m sure that with just a little bit of thought, you can come up with a middling long list of things that you have been telling yourself for years that you really should get around to implementing, from exercising to giving up the second muffin in the morning, to sleeping instead of watching television, to drinking more water….
Instead of telling yourself that you should do all these things because everyone says you should, why not think of of them as strategies that help you invest in your writing career?
There is another payoff, too. When you’re physically healthy, and full of energy, the complexities and stresses of life don’t impact nearly as heavily as they do when you’re tired, stressed, and far from wellness. Wouldn’t you much rather enjoy life while you’re juggling everything?
Ways to take care of yourself
Here are some ideas to think about, that can have direct impact on your writing:
Move more. Overwhelming evidence says that sitting at your desk all day is more unhealthy than smoking. That’s bad news for writers. There are alternatives, however. Standing desks, using the Pomodoro technique to break up your writing into 20 minute sprints divided by healthy breaks, using step counters to increase the number of steps you take per day… Most of these “healthy” techniques also have a direct impact on your writing, from helping you write more per hour, to helping you write more hours, to keeping your attention on the job while you’re writing.
Drinking enough water during the day will have an astonishing effect on your creativity, your ability to get things done, and your energy.
Meditating and journaling are supposed to be great stress busters, but they also do marvels for your story-generating brain.
Sleep is supposed to be good for longevity and your general health, but it is also a fantastic way to solve story problems. As you fall asleep at night think about the issue you are trying to resolve. In the morning, lie for a few minutes just after waking up, and think about the story again. Often an answer to your problem will occur to you, and you can quickly scribble it down before getting up and starting your day.
Reading. If it’s been a long long while since you picked up a book and read it simply because you wanted to, then toss all your must-read books aside, and go back to some of your old favourites. Yes, that’s right, I’m suggesting you read for pleasure. Most writers get into the pleasure-killing habit of only reading books for market research, to deconstruct techniques, and to beat themselves over the head because they know they’ll never write that well.
Don’t do that.
Give yourself permission to read because it’s fun. Get back to reading for pleasure, and remind yourself of why you got into writing in the first place! This is possibly the best way to reward yourself, and give yourself a treat for the holiday season.
This concludes the year-long series of ways that you can improve your indie publishing business in small increments. I wish you the best for the year ahead, and hope that at least some of the suggestions I’ve made help your business thrive.
Tracy Cooper-Posey writes paranormal, urban fantasy and science fiction romance, and romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published over 55 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.