I know how ridiculous this sounds. We Anxious Authors panic about everything to do with our books. From that major plot hole to whether the minor character in chapter 10 has a “realistic” hair colour.
Some days, I have a bit of a panic before I’ve even sat down to write. We are Anxious Authors with active (and sometimes over-active) imaginations. Anything is possible. Including losing all our work and spending the next week drowning our sorrows in whiskey. Or juice boxes.
Sometimes it’s so easy to worry about things, we forget to prioritise our fears. To put them in the correct order of importance so that we can manage them effectively. It is so important that we do this because worrying about too much at once overwhelms us. Feeling overwhelmed is one of the easiest ways to kill productivity so it’s our job to keep it to a minimum.
I won’t waste my time telling you Anxious Authors out there what to worry about because you’re probably worrying about it already. So, let’s have a chat about the things we don’t need to worry about.
1. Accidental plagiarism
Plagiarism is a thing, don’t get me wrong. A big thing, too. In the indie author world there are countless instances of lesser known authors stealing the works of popular indie authors. Here’s the drill, they’ll copy big chunks of existing content, slide in a few original paragraphs, slap on a different cover and call it theirs. Just check out this example.
The most Anxious Authors worry that their entirely original works might accidentally infringe on the story of other authors. But the chances of plagiarising someone by accident is ridiculously slim. Plus, most best-selling authors are far more worried about the people who are purposefully ripping their stuff off than the authors who write one or two sentences similar to them.
And honestly, if an author can even remember their books word for word after its been written, that is majorly impressive. I’ll be honest, some days I have trouble remembering what even happens in my books after they’re published! A bit of accidental overlap is no big deal and let’s be honest, we worry about it far more often than it actually happens.
As authors, anxious or otherwise, we have a responsibility to polish our manuscripts as best we can before release. Typos and mistakes can hit us hard and make us feel a little bit like we’ve failed.
The good news is, we haven’t failed. Typos and mistakes happen a lot, even in traditionally published books which have seen several editors before release. Typos happen and as indie authors, we have the upper hand there. We have the control to go back into our manuscript and make the necessary changes when we find them. Traditional publishers don’t have that luxury.
Accept this issue as a fixable inevitability and carry on.
3. Not Being Successful Enough
This one is a real kicker.
We’re usually writing or marketing, doing something to further our author careers when all of a sudden, we feel this wave of longing. We work our butts off and we’re slowly making our way up the indie ladder but we aren’t where we want to be yet and that’s a little depressing.
For me, this feeling often creates a sense of worthlessness. As if somehow I’m not keeping up with the group and will inevitably finish last, whatever that means. It’s easy to look at other authors who started earlier than we did and feel inferior. But it’s like that old analogy that I’ve come to love: not all popcorn pops at the same time. Deep stuff.
Success takes time and hard work and one day we will see our efforts bear fruit. But we also need to adopt some patience, as difficult as it may be.
4. Not Having Enough Time
Here’s a life spoiler for you: nobody has enough time. The phrase “there aren’t enough hours in the day” came about for a reason and that’s because we all wish we had more time on our hands.
Building an indie author career takes time, especially if we are Anxious Authors. Because, let’s face it, we need extra time to fret about things. Sorry, I mean brooding (that’s a way sexier term, right?)
But we really need to ask ourselves the question: what would we do if we had more time? Would it make us work harder or would we work less intelligently because we finally have all that time we wanted? Having more time comes with strings attached and most of them involve a little thing called discipline. The more time we have, the more we must organise ourselves to become productive. Otherwise – and let’s be honest – we’d just put off our tasks until later. Because, hey, we have more time now.
Even with a full-time job, if you are able to honestly say you have time in your day-to-day life to work towards your author goals, you are getting somewhere. Eventually, you work will pay off, even if it isn’t as soon as you hoped. You got this!
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out the other The Anxious Author posts!