Create your own being. Now.
Note to a troll: please make sure you have a good sense of self before reading this. Blocked creatives - they surround us and they can hurt us. But, we can learn from them.
Troll #1 on Twitter. It is not a platform I have used much, but what astounded me last night as I read this tweet, is how a person can literally hide. In this case, behind a name 'Exippy'.
It turns out she was deleted from my group, Bali Travel Group. She then sent a vile message on Facebook. I thought little of it, apart from blocking her. The more you stick a creative head out of the trenches, the more likely someone will want to lop it off. But her tweet later shocked me. It was the feable tweet of a coward, of someone trembling with fear and her own despise of herself. I read her other tweets, which covered off calling women slags and mocking them. And in a moment, knew that my creative self was standing strongly in the trench. It had come a long way.
I knew with every sense of my being that I was no longer blocked, and was living the vision I had created for myself. Simply put, her tweet did not hurt. It threw up some wisdom. And it made me very grateful for having invested the time to stumble to strength.
Julie Cameron talks about blocked creatives, which I cover in earlier blogs. Being blocked can spew out hateful comments which mask jealousy. Below all that, is fear; fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being enough.
It reveals a soul that has little it is proud of, and so it tries to drag others down.
I chose to answer this troll publicly. I did find out who she was, hiding behind her cute name Exippy. But I also know she did not consider she might be found out. Instead, she hurled what she thought would be an ego-crushing hand-grenade. Instead, it was received with the grace of someone who is a little further along on their journey, seeking the lesson sent.
Some, particularly those who have never experienced a troll, would say to sit in silence; that this is more dignified. But where is the lesson if it is kept? I am not ready for silence. And by sharing, perhaps you, a future author, will know that the blocked creatives, the trolls, will fire at you. Which is why it is more important than ever to stand true in your creative right. And be proud of who you are.
I answered her in this way.
1. Why self publishing is an act of courage, not vanity
Arguably, I have self-published very differently to many of my clients who rely on my raft of skills.
Should my clients feel shame in being self published, like it is an act of vanity? Not at all. The definition of an author is simply someone who writes. And I strongly believe in following your life purpose. If it is writing, or photography, then waiting for a publisher to honour your talent is one way of living it. And one I did not choose.
If you are a counsellor, coach or business woman, writing is often a way of sharing what you teach to others when there is not enough of you to go around. If we all waited for publishers, we would be waiting an awfully long time!
I threw loads of cash, experience and time (almost three years, giving up a six figure salary) at a dream for a reason.
There are a few other reasons I am self-published, and a publisher:
a) The publishing industry takes a long time and cares nothing about your book. Even if you do get a book deal, you need to know how to market your own book. Many authors are published by another company, and only sell a few hundred copies. With a vested interest in your own creative work, you are far more likely to work hard to build a personal brand that backs you.
b) You are lucky to get back 10c an hour if relying on that whole circle. That is not a sensible way to make money, spend your time, or run a business. The average novel can take thousands of hours to write. A publisher will give you around $1 per book. So if you become a bestseller, defined by selling 2,000 books, you have made $2,000. You will have invested time in launches, travel and of course, your writing.
It will have taken a year of your life to get published in the first place.
The publisher likely will not have made much either. But, you wear a badge you would be proud of? Of course. For writing a book. The how it got there, in my mind, is a matter of maths.
But if you have not done the maths, you may think JK Rowling's success defines all authors. It doesn't. Nor does Elizabeth Gilbert's.
I know plenty of wonderful people who are great writers. But they rely 100% on being a servant to a publisher or editor - a poorly paid employee. That's not to say this is wrong. But it would be wrong for me.
JK Rowling cannot design or publish to my knowledge...I feel though, that she would be respectful of anyone who has the courage to publish. On top of that grace I imagine she would give, she is an achiever. This attitude truly does define how we see others...and, funnily enough, our own success.
c) Self publishing helps us push through fear, because we only have ourself to rely on.
I have 20+ years of marketing, branding, writing, illustrating and design experience, and did the whole kit and caboodle myself, in alliance with others - investors, photographers, an artist and an author. I have pushed through incredible fear to do this. Fear of failure. Fear of creating and never being able to do it again. Fear of being a fraud. Fear of losing money. Fear, fear, fear.
And yet, I did it.
As an experienced designer, marketer, photographer, I knew what I was doing. Many self published authors do not and cannot. This does not make a self published author less than me, or less than Liz Gilbert. It makes us all people who push past the fear, particularly when your financial investment is great.
Some call self-publishers vanity-writers. If following my God-given talent is vanity, then I stand accused! Some feel you need to drown in the darkness of struggle if you are an artist. Phooey. Why on earth would you choose that path if another was available?
So, for a troll like Exippy, it seems like we have a blocked creative in the house. Welcome! I have been blocked myself and I was not a pleasant person, full of seething ughness and envy of others who seemed to be surrounded by creative light. Until I decided I wanted to be surrounded by that same light, and in 2011, consciously chose to find it.
My fear had become senseless, serving no purpose to me or others.
Elizabeth Gilbert observes in Big Magic that fear is boring. In fact, fear becomes "a song with only one note - only one word, actually - and that word was 'STOP!' " Fear stops us from becoming who we are. Creating anything is an act of courage.
2. We are either employees, or we are not. We get to choose.
I have published books for others and have a number in process. This is what defines me also as a publisher. And for so long as I head up Creatavision Publishing, I am going to be 'self-published'. That's going to spell bad news for Exippy. Because I am not going to change! (I could tell her about all my published articles, but I think her eyes have already glazed over.)
When Lisa Messenger, publishing queen, set up her magazine Renogade Collective, she was shamelessly self publishing! I say, go her! She had a dream, an idea, and created something amazing. She has two books under her own publishing brand. She even organised her own photo shoot! I have nothing but admiration. But, I can, because my soul is content. A troll's is not.
Would I change my path? No!
Considering it differently, look at entrepreneur Janine Allis, who shamelessly founded Boost Juice. Think of a business as a retail book! Instead of being an employee of the publishing world of juice, she had a vision, and did it all herself! Go her!
Janine is a talented marketer. If we apply the shame of self publishing to marketers, we are all doomed to work on other people's brands, and not one we create ourselves.
3. Trolls can pull us backwards, into their own world.
The idle gossip of trolls that sometimes permeates our lives, can cause us to forget our own worth, our own amazing journey. It can come via a troll, or a snide comment from someone you know.
In the old days, they had to say it to your face or behind your back, risking being dobbed in by others. Now, they think they can hide. But they cannot hide from the misery they push onto others, perpetuating their own lack of self worth.
It makes them feel great, puffed up. Go them. They will live another year without any significant moments of creativity, and for that, I feel sad for them.
Her tweet is a gift, giving me moment to pause and realise how awesome what I, my co-authors, authors and photographers and artists have achieved.
Being a human full of misery, in need of nurturing, is an awful place to be. At some point, it has to start with self.
Why you should self publish (and why you do not need to justify it!)
Am I self published? YES! My oath, yes!
Is a chef "self-chefed" when he brazenly opens a restaurant?
Or a fashion designer vain when they set up their own label? What about a builder who starts his own company? Gosh, how dare they not be employees! How dare they create under their personal brand!
The artist who sells their own work or commissions their own exhibition? God forbid, their own art? Controlling how, when and where it will be sold? As artists, creatives, authors, the more we take full control of our creative journey, the greater the enjoyment will be. The more we immerse ourselves in every detail, the greater our art will be.
Self-artists are simply saying that they are not part of corporate life. I did years in it. Drowning in misery.
For creatives, I urge you...create your own brand, your own being. Do not be suckered into being used by the corporate world, unless they are partners in every sense of the word.
We create our own destiny. Our own sense of being. While I have no need to defend against this troll, or others like her, I also know that where she is now is a sad and fearful place.
The contents of Big Magic are stepping stones to discovering our creative self-worth.
Courage. Enchantment. Permission. Persistence. Trust. Divinity.
Thank you Exippy, for giving me a moment to pause ... may your dreams be big and your judgement shrink as you achieve them. Focus on you. And your self worth. It will go a long way. It has worked for me.
I do not need to 'trust in darkness' as Elizabeth Gilbert points out. Like us all, I can choose to step out into bright light and to trust in my soul, which was born to bring visions to life.
Chase your dream and forget about mine. Hopefully mine will pale into insignificance as you live yours.
Need convincing still that you are amazing if you self-publish? Check out these authors. And, I bet not one has felt any shame, just an unbridled sense of joy (and good fear) in releasing their work to the world.
James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy
H.M Ward – Damaged
Barbara Freethy – Daniel’s Gift
E.L James – 50 Shades of Grey
If you would like to publish your own book, please use the contact form on this website.