We were stomping along in our high heels, this beautiful indie writer and I, because we were late for the speed-dating meet-the-reader session two miles away. I’d never met her before, but we were going to the same conference, we were both wearing inappropriately long daggers for heels, and we both had swollen, dry tongues hanging limply from our mouths as we marched on in the sweltering heat, squinting from the acid sweat drops rolling into our eyes. So we trudged on together.
I was about to faint from heat stroke and panic—hundreds of readers were waiting to meet their favorite Indie authors and we were miles away. It’s 105 F here in Florida, by the way. That might sound nice depending on where you are, but in truth: add some sulphur and some belching pits of agony or regret, and Florida really isn’t that far from H-E-(double toothpicks).
So there I was, marching, trying not to die, and my new friend would not stop talking. How did she have the breath for it? Here, in the scorched air of Hell? “Yippetyyappety yap yap yap yap yap yap YAAP! Anyway, so there I was, yappity, yip yip yip yip yippety…”
She wouldn’t shut up. The sun was peeling my skin off my face, my high heels were descending as the scorching tarmac melted the heel stubs inch by inch, and I had reached such a state of dehydration that my face had the look and stench of a shrunken head. We were still an everlasting trudge away from the conference center.
Until she said this:
“Yappety yippety yip, but, you know, after all is said and done, all we writers want to achieve is break even. I’ll be happy as long as I break even.”
My eyes snapped open. Secret strength I never knew I had breathed life back into my shriveling, trudging, heat stricken walking corpse. Break even????
Hoarsely, and with a sandpaper tongue licking my dry, peeling lips, I told her the truth:
“If that’s what you’re aiming for, then that’s what you’ll achieve. Nothing more.”
She seemed stunned, but I was too hot to apologize for my bluntness. The prickling sweat rash was spreading in the crease under my boobs. Blisters were forming on my heels because my feet were slipping about in my now flat shoes. I was not in the mood for her self-sympathetic starving writer attitude.
Because that’s all it is. Crippling beliefs. Limiting mind-sets. Self-sabotage.
We are artists, not martyrs. Yes, we create from passion, but let’s not think of ourselves as Jesuses, shall we? There are passionate accountants, passionate doctors, passionate bus drivers. People don’t read books with blank pages, so why do we feel ashamed asking for money for the worlds we build?
Ultimately, the difference lies in your mindset. Let’s compare:
Starving Writer Mindset: “Focusing on how to make money from my writing prevents me from writing from the heart…”
Thriving Writer Mindset: “Putting effort toward making a living from my work and understanding how my art fits in the bigger picture of life allows me to do what I love!”
Starving Writer Mindset: “Good books market and sell themselves; I shouldn’t have to descend to actively promoting my work…”
Thriving Writer Mindset: “I proudly and actively share my writing, my talent, with the world. Doing this helps my books sell so I can make a living, and it also provides a service to the people who love my words!”
Starving Writer Mindset: “The only way to be a successful writer is to get a huge advance on a fantastic book deal with one of the Big 5 publishing houses.”
Thriving Writer Mindset: “There is no single perfect way to be a successful writer. I will shed my own prejudices and allow myself to explore and discover new creative avenues I might also enjoy.”
Starving Writer Mindset: “Having little money and suffering for my art will make me a better writer…”
Thriving Writer Mindset: “Making good work comes from passion, talent, faith in yourself, and hard work–but never so hard it feels TOO hard! I do not have to stop having fun in order to be successful.”
Decide which mindset will deliver the results you want from your writing. Adopt that mindset. And then shut up about all the obstacles in your way, in fact, just sail straight past them. (Find out how here)
She didn’t say much on the rest of the trudge back to the conference center. Maybe she could tell from my shiny, crimson, pulsating face that my listening skills had deteriorated. But when we finally got to the “meet-the-reader” session, in a haze of moist body odor, she pulled herself up and started speaking with a bit more zing. I collapsed at the bar and ordered a Pina Colada and a bowl of ice cubes.
What other limiting beliefs keep us back? What’s stopping you from making money from your art? The first thing you need to do it set your goal. Find out how here.
E A A Wilson is an ordained minister and student of metaphysics. Her debut novel, Ascension Denied, is out 14 May. Visit her site here.