Every once in a while I come across an article about how "too many" people are publishing these days, and there are "too many" books flooding the market, and not everybody should write a book etc. And it's funny to me because I wonder, what exactly is the problem here?
Is discouraging people from writing all that different from discouraging people reading?
Is it safe to read, but it's not safe to write? (Actually I know a lot people who have that block.)
Exactly how many books are "too many"?
Are they afraid the market place of ideas is going to get "too big" and we'll all suffocate or something?
Will an overpopulation of electronic books result in mass famine?
If so many fascist and tyrannical movements involved burning books, isn't it a positive sign that now books are flourishing?
However, my biggest a beef with that line of thought is that, even with all the publishing options, all the courses and all the support available these days, there are still more people sitting on unfinished books rather than publishing them.
Why? What does not publishing do? If anything, that's the problem!
As a coach I'll tell you exactly why I think that is: it's not about the amount of work, logistical obstacles, money or time, (although that's what people often say). I find that more than anything it's about worthiness.
Most people don't publish because they don't think of themselves as published authors.
They doubt whether their ideas are worthy and they come up against perfectionism. Sometimes they might even sabotage or procrastinate just before publishing because of this mindset issue. And it's a fun issue for me to come up against, because whenever someone I'm working with comes at me with a ton of resistance, I think, "Alright, we're doing this!" Because I know this is a book that wouldn't otherwise get published, and I also know it will create a huge opportunity for both the author and her readers.
For me, books are opportunities. Every book is an opportunity to change someone's life. Everybody deserves that opportunity.
The fact is, you are worthy of expressing yourself. You're worthy of learning, growing, inspiring, sharing, helping and all the other great things that happen when you decide to publish your book.
So, if you find yourself buried in doubt and unworthiness before you hit publish, here are 3 basic tips to keep you calm:
1. Being Published Becomes the New Normal
Has there ever been any major change in your life that you could anticipate completely beforehand? From getting married, to having kids, to changing jobs, to graduating from high school, eventually you just have to go for it. It doesn't help to overthink it ahead of time. You learn as you go. Being published may not seem normal before you go through with it, but your life expands by doing it, and then that expanded life becomes the new normal.
2. Publishing Is a Step Forward
Whenever you get sunk in the unworthiness pit, just ask yourself: Are you taking away from anyone by doing this? No. Could you possibly add to someone's life by doing this? Yes. Could you add to your life by doing this? Yes. No matter where your journey takes you as an author, you must start by publishing or you won't go anywhere. After that the sky is the limit! You end up learning more and more as you connect with your readers, and publish more books!
3. Beginning is a Clean Slate
You might worry about how your book will be received or you might be intimidated by criticism. However in the beginning most of that is under your control. If you worry about publishing to crickets, the truth is if you don't put yourself out there and network, yes you will probably publish to crickets. This is under your control. The more you find your readers, the more it will spread, and at a certain point it self sustains. That's true in self publishing and traditional publishing. Just stay in the attitude of appreciating everyone who reads you, rather than fighting against expectations of always wanting more.
As for criticism, in the beginning when you're closer to your readers, you simply don't get as many people going out of their way to put you down. However, as you grow, any experience you do garner with criticism simply prepares you for the next level.
As far as I can tell, welcoming more writers into the circle of published authors is proof that more people are reading, thinking, and finding meaning in life. People are growing and getting inspired. Let's not limit that circle, let's expand it. There really is nothing to lose!