Sliding my arrow up, I hover over the “Publish” button. My heart quickens and my palms sweat. I take a deep breath and click. My words are now out into the world ready for anyone to happen by and read them, but people won’t just come. I have to invite them. It takes courage to hit the publish button, but a different kind of bravery is needed when it comes to marketing.
Clicking the publish button makes me tremble with both excitement and fear because I am being vulnerable. I am putting myself out there for people to applaud or criticize. I have no control over their reaction, so it is a big scary deal to keep hitting publish.
If you’ve hit publish on your first story, essay, poem, etc., you should be extremely proud of your accomplishment. Clicking that button takes courage. Putting yourself out there takes courage.
You have what it takes to open yourself up to the world. Yes, you are opening yourself up to criticism and rejection, but you are also creating a community and helping others.
Now it is time to be brave and invite people to share in your work. Many creatives use excuses like they don’t like to talk about themselves. They don’t want to be pushy. Marketing is sleezy. I hear you because I have said all those things. I could help others market their work, and I enjoy it. I love creating social media campaigns, coordinating emails, and creating graphics for it all. It allows me another creative outlet. But when it came to my own art, I fell silent.
I believed all those things about marketing myself. I don’t like to be the center of attention. I don’t want to be too pushy, and yes, I think marketing can be sleezy. I also know I had to do it.
Marketing my words, actively inviting people to step into my space, is scary in the proportions of big, hairy spiders crawling all over me. Not only am I putting myself out there for those one or two people who happen across my words, I am also telling people to come read my words because I believe in them and believe in my abilities.
It is a tall order for someone who barely thought of herself as a writer. Telling people to come read my words is telling people that I am good. I am helpful. Come see for yourself. It is a completely different mindset than overcoming the trepidation of the first time you click publish.
I didn’t believe in my work. I didn’t want to deal with criticism of my writing, opinions, or even appearance. That led to a lot of words sitting out there ready to be read with nobody to read them.
Then, something shifted in my mindset about my writing, my abilities, and my process.
I often scribble in a journal, pushing my pen across the page to rediscover myself. To find my inner writer even though she has always been there waiting to be free. During a journaling session, I had this epiphany:
I spend more time researching a marketing plan than actually doing the plan or my art. I often say I don’t like talking about myself and so I can’t market myself. But I think I don’t like talking about myself because that keeps me small and being small carries much less risk than putting myself out there and being vulnerable. When I share my work I am saying, “Here it is, hope you like it.” Marketing takes it the extra step of saying, “I think this is great and you should too!”
I was getting in my own way by not marketing my work. Not shouting from the rooftops that you can read my stuff. By not writing the stuff in the first place. If I don’t write it, it can’t be bad. I can’t fail at something if I don’t try. But really, I am failing myself by not trying.
I was hiding my work in plain sight. Telling people I was a writer but never really offering proof. Here is the proof. I am a writer. I am a poet. I am a short story creator. I am an author (no link to this one since I am still working on it, but it needs to be in the list as well).
What are you working on? Share it with me and the world!