Having toiled away in self-imposed isolation for several years, this year I decided to join a few online writing groups to learn and share experiences, observations, and insights about the process of writing and advice for improvement. Reading the questions and answers sparked a deeper self-analysis of my own writer identity which in some ways bolstered my self-confidence, and at other times reduced me to a near-catatonic state.
Writing advice usually begins with the basics like spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. While there’s always room for improvement in those areas, my writing mechanics got a good workout with technical writing as part of my previous job developing documents for the pharmaceutical industry. Chalk up one for the confidence boosters.
The writer’s forums discussed obstacles such as coming up with an idea, making time for writing, organizing content, editing your work, and overcoming writer’s block, emphasizing that we encounter the same hurdles and make similar mistakes along the way. Because writing is a creative outlet that I do for enjoyment, these impediments usually resolve over time without ending in frustration. I’m also very fortunate to be able to set my own deadlines since I’m not writing to put food on the table.
Unless you are already a best-selling author from a major publishing house, writers need to market their work. As a self-promoter, I had further success developing a new BoozyLifestyle.com website, creating new content, and editing photos and graphics for the site. A generous network of bloggers and twitter followers have been kind in helping me get the Boozy Lifestyle word out and welcoming me into groups with shared interests in wine, food, spirits, and writing.
With all the practical details under control, I focused my energy on storytelling, and how to communicate information without putting my readers to sleep. For readers who already have an interest in food and cocktails, Boozy Lifestyle recipes are an easy match. Understanding and appreciating the Boozy Lifestyle mindset is where I hope to win over readers with stories of everyday life elevated by creativity and positivity yet tempered with a small dose of reality and irreverence.
Writing Boozy Lifestyle has been a labor of love and small successes along the way fueled my desire to share it with an audience. But sharing my stories with the world in the context of a book published on Amazon is a terrifying thought. The plan to publish had come to a halt several times when I was overcome with self-doubt and fear of bad reviews. When writing is a creative outlet as opposed to a means to making a living, is it necessary for me to subject myself to the world’s review and criticism?
Once I got past my emotional distress, a logical, risk vs. reward analysis helped me decide whether to publish Boozy Lifestyle. At risk of a bruised ego, I chose to keep moving forward. I’m optimistic that my work will benefit from critique and contribute to my growth as a writer (and a person). I’m hopeful that shared experiences that resonate with readers will be rewarding. There’s a sense of accomplishment upon finishing the project; not finishing would be like attending college and not getting a degree or taking karate lessons for 10 years without earning a black belt.
There were so many choices to make about book content, organization, layout, photos, graphics, and marketing. But the toughest decision was the one that took the most courage. The hardest part of writing Boozy Lifestyle was making the decision publish it.
Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse is available on Amazon.com