Self-care + Self-publishing : What to do when pressing publish brings anxiety
What to do When Pressing Publish Feeds Your Anxiety
It is no small feat to self-publish. While it is true you reap all the profits of a book doing well, it is also true you reap all the pain if it fails. The mental strain that goes into publishing can (sometimes) be impossible to ignore. It is normal to experience fear of failure when things aren’t developing as you expected. Here’s what you do when pressing publish feeds into your anxiety about success.
Don’t ignore your self-publishing anxiety.
You are only human. Simple flesh and blood. That is to say, some days self-publishing may prove to be overwhelming and cause anxiety. There may even be an increase in your fear factor while trying to determine the best route to take your career. There are extraordinary things you can do with your self-publishing career, but often you will do so in the face of uncertainty.
Fear and anxiety are obstacles, but they are also tools. The only way you can properly benefit from their intrusion, is by finding a way to channel the anxiety into your self-publishing process. Don’t ignore those emotional cues. It is an act of self-preservation to acknowledge when you feel off kilter, even if it is only a moment. Take stock of your fear, and what is causing the anxiety by looking deeply into not only your personal triggers, but also your professional ones. Maybe pressing publish brings out your fear that your writing isn’t publish worthy. Maybe the idea of needing reviews reminds you of needing outside approval when in high school. Whatever the cause, address it in a healthy way.
Review your professional processes, and the resources you use when self-publishing. In the areas that feel weak, search out resources or people who can help you strengthen them. The same applies to your personal life. Don’t be afraid to get help. It comes in many forms, and whatever shame you think you may feel has far less value than the satisfaction of taking control of your dream.
Fear and anxiety need your shame in order to grow. They are a disease, and you cannot let the uncertainty of your self-publishing feed them. If you do, then you will likely spend your career holding your breath and second guessing every decision you make. You are an author. Write. Publish. Do not let fear and anxiety control your fate.
Fight your Self-Publishing anxiety by taking a break to assess.
If you are anything like me, there is a minimum amount of publishing you’d like to do with your year. This is admirable, but it isn’t without pressure. When creating your writing timelines, be sure to leave space for rest and recuperation. It is mentally exhausting to always think for yourself, your characters, and if you are a mom, your kids. Throw in your partner and you are literally living several lives at once. Do not feel guilty or lazy for taking off the author/publisher hat between publishing.
Just as teachers, executives, and other career driven individuals can experience burnout, so can you. The anxiety you feel may be a precursor to a larger problem. You may not realize it, but your anxiety maybe your minds way of alerting you to building exhaustion. If this is the case, you can always see a professional therapist. In addition, take a break.
If you need to maintain some kind of connection to your publishing processes while taking a small break, then do so in phases. Instead of plotting your next book, work on marketing for your current one. Sign up for a blog tour, and write some guest blogs for your favorite book review site. Take the time to scout a new location for you next novel, but do so with vacationing in mind. Your work should work for you, and not the other way around.
Assess your self-publishing anxiety by revisiting your professional systems.
One of the ways anxiety makes its entry into your work life is through feelings of uncertainty surrounding professional systems. If you aren’t sure what a system is or how it applies to your self-publishing career, you can gain some insight here. Your systems are a detailed checklist for each aspect of your self-publishing process. There is always a possibility that you’ve missed an important step while working through the numerous layers of self-publishing. Take anxiety by the horns by solidifying the steps in your systems and double checking them when you have doubts.
Take into consideration the points that give you the most anxiety and then make adjustments. Systems are not permanent, but they are firm. As your needs grow or lessen, your systems can be altered to fit your goals and your needs more effectively. If you are in the beginning stages of your system implementation, then a few adjustment weeks are expected. During this time, you will have a chance to see what other places need systems, and where you have over thought the process. Most systems will show their effectiveness within four weeks of consistent implementation. When they aren’t working for you anymore, make the changes. Don’t second guess it. You are running a business, and your business should not run you.
Move forward through your self-publishing anxiety by starting your next book.
So, you’ve submitted your final draft. Everything is formatted to the best of your abilities, you’ve researched your genre, you know your readers, and now, you are just waiting for the purchases. In addition to those things, you’ve taken a suitable-for-you amount of time resting up for your next great work. Wonderful, now get on with it. Anxiety is tireless. If your small break is suddenly an extended stay vacation, then it gets harder to get back to work.
Your career requires your work ethic. It requires you to get on with your next great manuscript despite your personal triggers and professional hang-ups. Your anxiety is not the boss of you, but it can take over if you give it power. Address your anxiety. Take the breaks you need in order to clear your head and be your productive self, and then get to work.
Your anxiety, your fear is an obstacle. It is also a tool. Don’t forget that. Use it as a means to develop your next characters, give them the fear, the flaw to overcome. This transference pushes you to keep working, to resolve the anxiety for your character arc. Solving it for your character can bring to light ways you can solve it for yourself. You are a writer, write. Use your talent as part of your healing process and your anxiety will eventually loosen its grip on your actions.
Self-publishing is not unlike other entrepreneur endeavors in that it takes a lot of time, and mental tenacity. The longer it takes you to address your anxiety, the more detrimental its effects can be on your business. You are not powerless. Your voice is needed and your books are important. Take care of yourself by noticing when you aren’t working at your best, then take the necessary steps to get back on track. Doesn’t your work deserve the best you? Comment below with some anxieties you have about self-publishing.