This is my first post on my new author’s blog. And yes, that means new author and new blog. I am a novice blogger and a novice author with light years to go before I get a few hundred thousand readers and nail a Booker.
I feel the thrill, the nerves, the hope and the fear that always come with something new. It happens to all of us. You are never sure everything is just right when you are about to tumble out of your comfort zone for the first time: are the straps tight enough, is the ripcord easy to reach, is your helmet secure? There is always something to improve, something you can take closer to perfection.
You want everything to be just right because you are afraid of failure. I am susceptible to this fear. I am publishing this post more than a month after I wrote it. During that month, I polished and repolished it before I decided enough is enough. I remembered a lesson I had learned some time ago: the search for perfection can also make you the perfect procrastinator. You damn well draw a line and stay inside.
More on procrastination a little further down.
I know most authors nowadays feel incomplete without an author’s blog. I know this blog is the gazillionth on the blogosphere. It is also the first of another gazillion to come. I get the feeling half of the world is blogging, and half of the remaining half is wondering how to get there.
Half of the leftover half is busy providing support services for blogging—platforms, domain registration services, hosting, software support, plugins, apps…
Half of whatever is left reads blogs.
So what do I plan to do to raise my blog a notch or two above the madding crowds?
Three words: keep at it. I will try to come out regularly with sensible stuff. I will try to learn from and share my readers’ opinions about what makes for sensible stuff. I have targets in terms of frequency and quality of blog posts. I have readership targets in mind. I do have plans to build a list, and I have specific targets for selling my books.
Yes, I know. Books are now free per piece, a dime a dozen and a dollar a gross. I know it is going to be hard to rise above the clutter. I know I will.
Those are sufficient targets for the time being, I think.
What, no money making targets? They are there, but in the waiting list. It is not that I am indifferent to money. My circumstances in life actually make me keenly aware of the value of money. I also learned the hard way that dough you have kneaded with your sweat becomes sticky. It sticks to your hands, attaches itself to your pockets and settles down for the long term in your bank account. It is easy to consume and digest, and it gives you great energy. It boosts your self-esteem, your sense of accomplishment, and your… smugness?
I have my moneymaking targets, and will reach them in due course.
I was late getting into social media and writing. For a long time, I was unable to find the time to work on my work schedules. In other words, I procrastinated. I was a master procrastinator, the James Bond kind, the kind for whom tomorrow never comes.
I just put up profiles on social media sites and waited for them to levitate me.
I do not recall just how many books on self-improvement and writing I put down halfway through, because I had something more demanding to attend to first. Of course, I often never returned to some of the books I put down. How many videos did I leave half seen, how many podcasts half heard?
How many half-improved versions of me were there?
If you have ever been afflicted with procrastination and tried to fight it, you will know what it is like to procrastinate on quitting procrastination. You know that quitting procrastination is like quitting smoking. You can do it every day, but tomorrow does come—all too quickly.
I think I have broken the spell. In recent months, I have been able to get most of the things I targeted done, within the timeframe I set for myself. The key word is most, of course. There is room to get better.
It happened because of a conversation I had with a chronic smoker while we both were waiting for our turns in a doctor’s outer room. I am a diabetic, and I was there with the results of my latest blood glucose level test. This smoker was griping about his inability to quit even as he kept going out of the premises to light yet another cigarette. He had tried just about everything: pills, capsules, electronic cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy and hypnosis. He was able to kick the habit frequently, but he wanted permanent closure.
I am grateful to that man. As he was droning on, I suddenly realized eight years had gone by since I quit after thirty years of smoking. I quit the day before I went through a procedure for removal of kidney stones, intending to resume after I was discharged from the hospital. Somehow, I stayed a quitter. Eight years later, the urge has gone extinct.
That one conversation with the smoker did more for me than all the half read books, the half seen videos and the half heard podcasts. It woke me up to my own potential.
I am not a social media hot shot. Yet. I am not a smash hit author. Yet. I intend to get there. You bet.
I have been chipping away at it, working on my social profiles, which were stagnant for so long. I have been boning up on writing, publishing and marketing. I had three dry runs, non-fiction books on Kindle, and have experienced the satisfaction of writing them, publishing them, and gosh, even making some money from them. Even if the money I earned from them is not going to buy me my dreams, it adds color to them.
I intend to focus this blog on anything to do with authorship, social media for authors, tools for authors—online or computer-based—and some miscellaneous meandering and ranting.
I intend to continue learning and doing and sharing my experiences.
If you have ideas on what else an author’s blog can do, please share your inputs. I would love to hear from you about how to be a lesser procrastinator, a better social media user and a better author. Your comment adds weight to my blog, boosts my self-esteem and gives me a platform to share with you.
That is what an author’s blog is for, I think.