OAAA Guest Post: Mindee Arnett- 5 Things Writing Has Taught Me About Myself

April 13, 2015     erinbook     Uncategorized

Today’s OAAA author is Mindee Arnett. Her sci-fi duology Avalon and Polaris is perfect for fans of the TV show Firefly. Her trilogy, beginning with The Nightmare Affair, is awaiting the release of its last installment.

Mindee has written a post about what writing has taught her about herself that I think is worth a read for all fans and aspiring writers. 

5 Things Writing Has Taught Me About Myself.

This is such a strange topic for me. So out of my norm—and my comfort zone. Most of my posts focus on the nuts and bolts of writing itself. I love that stuff, the technical bits, the down and dirty, hand-on-the-hammer part of the job. Writing about myself is harder, but as I contemplated this prompt I started to think that some self-reflection might be useful to you writers about there who are either going through the same thing or who are on the verge of it. So without further ado, here I’ve five things I’ve had to learn since publishing.

  1. Courage. Yep, that’s right. Nothing else has unleashed my inner Gryffindor quite like writing or, more specifically, publishing. When I was querying agents it took a lot of courage to open an e-mail from a prospective agent, not knowing if it would be a request for more pages or—more likely—a rejection. I had to be brave; I had to have nerves—and emotions—of steel. It would’ve been so much easier to just click delete or better yet, to not have bothered with submitting at all. This struggle didn’t go away once I signed with my agent either. If anything it might’ve gotten worse. While on submission every e-mail became scary. Then later, after I sold a book I had to open up my first edit letter, wondering all the while how bad it was going to be, if this was going to make me bleed (it didn’t, thank goodness). Then once the book came out, I had to be brave in public, on panels, at my book launch, conferences. And finally came the scariest moment of all—viewing the sales statement. See what I mean? Bravery. I either had to get it or be crushed by anxiety and fear.
  2. Balance. To be honest, this is something I still struggle with. A lot. Writing can become all-consuming, especially once you add in the marketing and business aspects of the job. While working on my first book, I didn’t have any balance whatsoever. Nearly every thought in my brain was book related—what will my cover look like, how will the book do, will people hate it, am I doing enough promotion? And so on. The obsession started to destroy the other parts of my life. Thankfully, I have learned some balance, like not checking e-mails and twitter at night when I’m home with the family, taking real vacations, focusing on other hobbies and activities. Some days I’m good at the balance. Some days I’m bad, but as long as I’m trying to keep it, then I’m okay.
  3. Humility. It’s no secret that you’ve got to have a fair amount of ego to be a writer. You’ve got to believe in yourself to keep on submitting despite rejections. You’ve got to think you’re pretty awesome to expect other people to want to read the thoughts in your head that you’ve spent weeks putting down on paper. For me, up until publishing, I always had a kickass and take names attitude about everything in life. I was special, important. I fully believed there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish if I set my mind and heart on it hard enough. After publishing though, I’ve learned this truth: there are some things I can’t do. Some things are beyond my reach, out of my control. Most things, to be honest. And now I know how incredibly not-special I am. I’m just one, tiny little writer trying to keep her head above water in the turbulent sea of publishing. But that’s okay. Learning humility helps you stay sane and to appreciate the things that really matter.
  4. Patience. Now I’m not saying that I’ve learned patience. I haven’t. I never will, I don’t think. I’m impatience by nature. But writing has taught me how to manage my impatience. Self-control if you like that word better. Because that’s really what patience is about when it comes to publishing—resisting the temptation to e-mail your agent every second asking why you haven’t gotten edits back on a manuscript or a proposal or a hundred other things. You’ve got to learn how to wait and how to not let the waiting drive you mad. The answer here, for me anyway, is just to keep writing. The work is my drug, my pacifier.
  5. I would do it anyway. And now we’ve come to the most important revelation for me. I would write anyway, even if I weren’t able to publish. Writing fills me up. It gives me purpose. And that’s more important than publishing—finding fulfillment in the stories you create. Success, fan mail from readers, starred reviews, those are all really great, wonderful things. They’ll make you feel like a million bucks. But they’re fleeting. The feeling never lasts. The only thing that does is the satisfaction that comes with writing a story, finishing it, and being proud of what you’ve written.  

Good luck and happy writing!

Mindee has donated a copy of the first book in her sci-fi duology, Avalon, to the month long giveaway. There are also signed pieces of swag from both her series available in the swag pack option. Head on over to the giveaway post to enter!

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