Questionable Sanity

I was recently asked…

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

It’s not possible to remain sane, particularly if you are an indie author. Here’s why:

You have to write in your “spare” time. This means you stop watching television, spending time with family, and sleeping. (Incidentally, the psychotic episodes caused by sleep deprivation are excellent inspiration for writing suspense and thrillers.)

In your other spare time (otherwise used for eating, showering, doing laundry and, in some cases, breathing), you have to learn how to promote your books without offending and/or irritating everyone around you. During this process, you will scour the Internet for ideas, waste money on ads that don’t work, and be told you cannot market your books in certain places because you are “indie” and therefore not a “real” author. Readers will ridicule and often harass you for promoting your work, even while you’re giving it away free. Yet, at the same time, these readers will happily download and read the free book they have just berated you for promoting.

You must possess an ego capable of enduring constant beatings. People who hate you will inevitably yell louder than those who love you.You have to be Internet savvy, able to understand and implement the various formatting requirements for print and ebooks. Be aware that each ereader has its own unique formatting requirements, meaning you will need to format every book multiple times. A law degree is helpful for deciphering the endless pages of contracts for each endeavor. An accounting degree is necessary in the event you actually make money and need to claim income and expenses on your taxes.

Let’s not forget that, throughout all this, you are walking around with a batch of characters competing for attention in your head. They will insist you get out of bed at 2 a.m. to write a scene. They will refuse to bend to your will, causing you to rewrite the first six chapters to better fit their motives. Inspiration will strike in the midst of a conversation and your friends might not understand your sudden need for paper and pen. You will have more ideas than time, a drawer full of unfinished projects, a desk lined with sticky notes, and a stupid smile on your face because you love what you do.

This all proves that indie authors must be insane.

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