Did I ever tell you that I went to law school? I only lasted the first year and then went back to publishing. The thing that struck me during that time was something that a professor warned us about on our very first day. She looked out upon us in the assembly and said the weirdest thing: “You will lose your common sense.”
It sounded bananas to me at the time, but very quickly, under the weight of the Socratic Method and its accompanying sleepless nights, I lost my common sense. Most others did, too. Overthinking, panic, rushing from one study tool to the next depending on what successful study groups were trying—it all led to some classic ‘not seeing the forest for the trees.’
I mean, here was a group of adults with a high enough baseline intelligence level to be admitted to law school. We were all capable, and we all wasted time at one point or another trying to win. If you’re a writer—no matter the genre—you have a certain baseline intelligence, as well. One that allows you to focus on minute details while crafting a world.
If you’re like me, you’ve overanalyzed the publishing industry and what you can do to succeed there. Maybe you see other people doing videos or podcasts and are strategizing how to learn all that while also finding time to write. All the while being surrounded by civilians who have no idea that writing is more than just the act of putting down words—it is achieving the right frame of mind to soar.
On top of it, everything we must learn to market our work is evolving rapidly and I begin to feel that same spiral that happened in law school—spinning my wheels not wanting to mess up or miss out. Tomorrow is the 1st day of the last year of my 40s, so I’m processing a lot right now, including how I am going to win at this author gig.
So I’m choosing just a few platforms with which to promote myself and prioritizing my writing. Within the next five years, I want to make a living as an author, and that takes a lean strategy aimed at creating products to sell. Because romantic dreams of being an author aside, what I really want is a viable business. But a business that I love doing, and this is it for me.
If you’re out there in a panic over Reels and Substack (respect), so much so that you are not creating your soul’s work, then stop. Sit down, pull out a steno pad or pull up a Sheet, and make a plan that gets you where you want to be.
Sometimes you spin your wheels in life. Sometimes you get a lot done. I’ve done both, and now, I plan to keep adding to my body of work. That’s my common sense move. There will be more Birthday Ranch chapter books, and more The Bun Family Coloring Books. More adventures, more characters, all of it!