Zeroing in, according to a dictionary post, means to aim directly at someone or something. That is the idea, this post is about focusing on something. In the middle of March I had my sights set on beginning the A-Z Challenge in April. I had never participated or for that matter, heard of it before. I saw it on a blog somewhere and thought, “Yeah, I could do that.”
I told my friends at Bite My Book about it. They agreed to participate with me. Together, the three of us over on the Bite My Book site managed to complete the challenge. That was with three people taking turns posting. On this blog, it was just me. I wrote, counting this one, 26 posts from A-Z all by myself. Some days, I wrote two depending on if it was my turn on the Bite My Book.com site.
That may sound like bragging, and it is, so deal with it. The point to mentioning the challenge is, well, duh, because this is an A-Z Challenge post. The other point to mentioning the challenge is that part of the challenge was to visit around 10 other A-Z Challenge poster’s blogs each day. I did this. I religiously spent about an hour to an hour and a half each day/night visiting other people’s sites. I learned A LOT.
What did I learn you ask? Well, some were entertaining. Some were informative. Some were more than that. Some of the blogs I visited reminded me of zeroing in. They were focused. They were driven. They knew exactly who and what they were and made no apologies for being exactly that. It was inspiring to read posts from veteran writers about getting published, about what to do and not to do, about what to avoid, what mistakes rookies make vs those who have been at it awhile.
I am always, as a newbie to the industry, looking for inside information. What can I do to get noticed – in a good way – not for being a complete moron? What can I do to be a better writer? What can I do to promote my book without annoying the crap out of people? What should my book be? What should it be about? What genre should I be writing in? Should I wait it out to try and be published by a company or just self publish? Am I a complete idiot for even trying to write the new bestseller?
After reading the variety of posts on all of those subjects throughout the challenge, I realized a few key points. The first thing I became crystal clear on was the idea of zeroing in on exactly what my goal as a writer was. The second was what kind of writer I wanted to be and how I wanted to be seen as a writer. The third was that I can always, always be a better writer. Nobody is perfect, everyone has room for improvement.
So what then you ask, did I zero in on? Well, a few things. The answer to the whole am I a complete idiot for trying to write the next bestseller is – YES. The idea for me of writing a bestseller was pleasing everyone. That is simply, and I’ve known this my whole life just forgot it momentarily as I began writing again, not possible. You can’t please everyone. You can’t write your book in every genre. You can’t be the funniest and most serious writer at the same time. You can’t write the perfect book that every reviewer everywhere will love and every person alive will want to buy and read.
A genre, or even two, maybe a combo of a few, must be chosen. Decide what your book is. If you can’t even decide what your book is or what category it falls into- how can you be sure you even know what you’re writing? How can your readers understand you?
A writing style that is yours, not what you think others want to read, must be used. Your style is unique to you, it is what makes your writing different in a good way. It should be celebrated not hidden so that others won’t realize you aren’t Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz or whoever. Be you and don’t be afraid of being you.
Lastly, write because you love writing. Don’t write because you need the money. Ha! Just kidding on that one. Seriously, write because it is your passion. You want to write, you enjoy writing and it makes you happy. Don’t write just to be published because it won’t be as good as something that comes from the simple passion of writing.