I’ve been a fan of Joanna Penn for some time and I credit her with my 2015 mindset shift. It was after reading Business For Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur at the end of 2014, that I began treating writing as a business. Yes, I love doing it, but it’s no longer a hobby or something I do in my spare time. Since first of last year, I make the time. I do something invovled with my author career for a minimum number of hours every day and there’s a schedule of what needs to be done. The goal is to be full time one day.
I’ve been eager for her new book, The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey, for months as she’s been talking about it on her weekly podcast, The Creative Penn. The book went far beyond my expectations and I believe it’s a volume that authors, regardless of where they are in their careers, should keep close by (since mine’s an ebook, it’s as close as my iPad and its usually on my desk).
The book is broken into three overall sections–“Mindset Aspects of Creativity & Writing,” “Mindset Aspects after Publishing” and “Tips for Success on the Author Journey”– with each broken into easy to digest chapters. Joanna’s been in the business long enough she identifies what so many authors feel from time to time–everything from writer’s block to comparisonitis to to defining success for yourself and controlling your writing career. While everything is a bite-sized nugget of guidance and wisdom, the way it’s all organized makes for a very satisfying read from start to finish.
What pushes this into the stratosphere as an extremely beneficial book is that Joanna’s made it clear that she’s been there. There are many excerpts from her own journals, and they’re very deep. “My whole life is now bound up in writing books and being an author. If I can’t write another, I’m finished. I am broken,” she says as an excerpt in the “Writer’s block and procrastination.” There are many insights like this that drive the points of the book home because they’re all coming from some one who is successful but still goes through the ups and downs every creative does.
I’ll admit that I got emotional as I read this book, which I wasn’t expecting. But the book drove home the fact that I am an author and that I’m not just playing at this. I’ve been through–in large or small doses depending on the topic–much of what’s in the book. The quote that really resonated with me, and some thing I struggle to keep in mind, is one Joanna gave from Robert Greene (from his book Mastery): “You cannot have everything in the present. You will have to keep your focus on five to ten years down the road when you will reap the rewards.” It’s so true and yet so easy to forget, even though I’ve told myself it’ll likely be 2020, at the earliest, that I might be able to make writing my full time job.
Thank you, Joanna, for creating a book that will help me keep things in perspective when the going gets tough or provide some inspiration when it’s easy sailing.