What are Your Payoffs for Becoming–or NOT Becoming–an Author?

What are your payoffs for succeeding as a writer?In several previous posts I’ve discussed the need to wear both a business hat and a writing hat if you want to become a successful author. (You can find those posts, which are part of my new book, The Author Training Manual, being blogged here, by clicking on this link.) If you feel resistant to putting on a business hat, you have to ask yourself, “Why?” You know the payoffs for becoming a writer entrepreneur. You created a vision; you saw the benefits clearly (if you completed earlier exercises). It’s time to find the reason you aren’t turning your vision into reality by doing what is necessary.

Evaluate Yourself to Become a Successful Author

Continue your author training by examining yourself and your attitudes closely. There’s a reason…and maybe it’s as simple as fear…you are unwilling to do what it takes to become an author, or, more specifically, a successful author.

This is not to say that you sincerely may not want to wear that hat and do the activities that go with wearing it. I didn’t, and for a long time—many years—I didn’t. Then one day I decided I wanted to be an author more than I didn’t want to do those business-related tasks. So I put on the damn business hat. I wore it every day. I wore it more than my writing hat. And I even grew to like wearing it. I got good at those tasks. And now I’m an author.

Maybe the reason you don’t want to wear a business hat is because you are shy and don’t like to be out in front of people; promotion makes you nervous. If you can develop a willingness to wear that business hat, you might discover that you can promote, or build author platform, from the comfort of your home with no one ever seeing you—by utilizing the power of social networking, podcasting, blogging, or radio appearances, for example. Or maybe you are afraid of having your new publishing business fail; fear of failure is a common reason people don’t start projects. If you don’t try, you won’t ever know if you can succeed. Plus, continuing through the proposal process will help increase your odds of success.)

Determine the Payoffs that Hold You Back or Drive You Forward

To uncover what is stopping you from donning that business hat and becoming a successful author, focus on what your payoffs might be if you were to remain an aspiring author forever. What do you actually gain if you don’t achieve your goal of becoming a published author—if you just continue to aspire to achieve your goal? Use reverse psychology, if you will.  For example, if you never build a big enough platform to land a publisher, you could blame someone else, a publisher or agent who rejects your query or proposal, for the fact that you didn’t write and publish your book. You could say it was their fault, not yours. (Yes, this constitutes denial.) Or maybe not making time to build platform on Twitter and Facebook (or even find time to write your book) means you don’t have to discover if anyone thinks you are worthy of following on social networks or of being read. By not getting out there in a big way—or even in a small way—you don’t have to risk taking a hit to your self-image. Or maybe by leaving that business hat hanging on the wall you allow yourself to retain your belief that true creatives never mix marketing with art. Think about it…Do you have a payoff for remaining unpublished or an unsuccessful author?

Now, change those negative payoffs into positive ones. Remember what you really want to gain. You want to become a successful author. These negative beliefs won’t get you there.

  • Move through your fear.
  • Change negative thoughts to positive ones.
  • Take action even though you don’t want to do so.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Set new goals.
  • Do something different.

Your old thoughts, beliefs and behaviors have only helped you achieve your current level of success. If you want to achieve a higher degree of success, rid yourself of the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that hold you back or keep you stuck where you are right now, and create new ones. Decide to have an Author Attitude—do whatever it takes to become a successful author, even if that means wearing a business hat a lot of the time.

This post is an excerpt from the draft of my new book, The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, Spring 2014), which I am blogging here on Write Nonfiction NOW! You can read previous posts here. Only select pieces from the manuscript, a “working draft,” are being posted—not the complete manuscript. I’d love to hear your thoughts and get your feedback. Leave your comments below.

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