Can you really stay motivated, and self publish a novel, by being a productive procrastinator? Yes.
And no. See, you actually do have to write the book, eventually… but there’s nothing wrong with a little productive procrastination along the way. In some cases, it may even help. Let me explain:
We’ve all been there. You’re in the zone, writing away, annihilating your word count goals… then it hits. Writer’s block, brain freeze, the funk. There are hundreds of articles on how to try and fight your way out of this hell-hole. The sad truth is, it’s different for everyone. You can try em all, and there’s a chance, a horrifying chance, none of them will work.
What then? What do you do when your brain turns to mush and you can’t compose a decent sentence? Some say, write anyway, you can edit it later. Other’s say shift gears and work on another project. The options are endless.
See, I ran into the wall pretty hard myself, over a month ago.
I am on a deadline.
I mean this wall, it wasn’t even made out of something reasonable, like brick. The wall I face-planted into was like adamantium. I think the reason it took me so long to start writing again is because I had a concussion.
So what hope is there?
I mean, lets be honest.
I’m only joking! See the thing is, I’m on a deadline. I can’t afford to start working on one of my other projects. I don’t want to get absorbed, then neglect the one whose clock is ticking.
I also don’t want to create even more time-consuming work for myself by writing crap that will take weeks to go back and edit to salvage.
My solution has been to be productive and have some fun, all while keeping my brain focused on this project.
What does that even mean?
I am self publishing, and the book comes out in May. With that being the case, there is a lot to do, that has nothing to do with actually writing the book.
I have taken this time to:
- Build up the beginnings of a website
- Land an artist for the cover art, book design, and promo goods
- Develop the packages for my pre-order campaign
- Work out my budget for the self publishing process
- Try and do some Fundraising!
- Get ahead on my blog, and schedule posts to go on without me, so that when I do start writing again, I don’t have to worry about the blog being neglected, or becoming a distraction.
- Have some fun!
What I am doing is clearing out room for me to be able to work better when I do get back at it.
The last thing I want is for writer’s block to turn into burn out! I want to stay focused on this project, but I don’t want to grind myself into the ground with it. I can’t afford to get burnt out. So, I have to keep all this work light and fun!
Marketing can be fun?
With self publishing, you’re taking on all the roles of writer, designer, publisher, PR manager, marketer… the list really can go on forever. The key is to make all these aspects enjoyable. You don’t want to wake up one day resenting the fact that you made your dream come true!
Luckily for me, I write YA. Young adults are fun to market to.
I’ve used downtime to create quizzes for future readers to take, that I will post once the book is published. I decided to go with playbuzz, to make buzz feed type quizzes that relate to the book, the characters… do whatever works for your genre/plot. I have a few. When the book launches I will have the links to the quizzes on the website, and they will hopefully be shared on facebook etc.
I’ve created a playlist for the book including songs I listened to while writing, as well as songs that would be playing in the back ground if it had been a movie. Music is a really good way to bond with readers. They get to know your style a little bit, and can share theirs with you. You can help set the tone for the book before they ever even read it, and maybe find a few new favorite groups in the process.
I am considering creating social media profiles for my main character, so that readers will be able to interact with her. Maybe a twitter account, or even a snapchat.
I am having a blast daydreaming about different promo goods I can offer once the book is released. Granted, until the book makes a profit this will remain a day dream!
See the thing is, if you wait for the book to be published before you think of all these things, it’s too late. The first few months could end up costing you hundreds! You want sales to take off, preferably before the book is even released! Which means promote promote PROMOTE!
Luckily, I like hanging out with teenagers. So its easy for me to talk about the book, because the teens I know are excited they know someone who is writing one. Now, if they can just all brag to their friends that they are friends with an author and get them to buy a copy, we’re in business! Or, at least, I am.
Take time to get to know and hang out with your audience. Start talking up the book. Have an audience, ready, who is not only willing to read the book, but eagerly anticipating it! Who cares if you finish the book? Who cares if you finish and publish the book? If your answer to those is nobody, then you probably shouldn’t go through all the effort. Have at least a group of family and friends who show interest. You don’t want to go broke. And the goal shouldn’t be to break even. You want people to read it! Your book is a business.
You can also get book trailers made cheap on fiverr that you can post on all your social media profiles. You can order cheap tote bags and paper products (bookmarks, door-hangers,flyers, book launch invitations) on vistaprint for pre-orders, or your book launch party.
By the time I get back into the groove and start writing and editing again, I wont have to worry about posting on the blog every week, my pre-order campaign will be planned out and ready to launch, my cover art will be taken care of, promo materials will be designed and ready to order, and I wont have to stress about what I can and can’t afford. I can just focus on the story, the characters, and punctuation.
And you know what? All of those other things running around in my head while I was trying to write, may have been the foundation of that wall I ran into. By taking the time to break it down, and tackle it all one piece at a time, I cleared the road to be able to concentrate on the actual writing part. And I did it all by productively procrastinating!