When I started really taking my creative writing seriously a few years ago, I engulfed myself in the online publishing community. I subscribed to a ton of blogs, followed publishing news and joined in some networks. One thing I could not find was a literary publication that resonated for me.
There were a lot of reasons for this. Partly, I am not sure I knew where to look. For whatever reason, they were not easy to find. A lot of the ones I came across had outdated websites that were difficult to navigate. Or they didn’t post content online. Or they updated only every two or three months. Few offered any way to subscribe. Many focused on dense literary writing. Nothing against literary fiction, but it’s not what I was looking for. I wanted something lighter. Something fun. I’m a fantasy writer. Where were the fantasy stories?
The more I thought about it, the less it made sense. I couldn’t get it out of my head that in the digital age, it shouldn’t be this hard to find a platform for short stories that met these needs. From a marketing perspective, could there be any better way for a fiction author to build a platform than to share their work? There’s no reason an author couldn’t go into a first novel release with a fan base already hungry and waiting for it.
Finally, it hit me…if what I was looking for wasn’t out there, what was stopping me from creating it?
I started planning it out that night. Over the next year and a half, I slaved away over WordPress to bring it to life.
It wasn’t easy. I’d never made a website before. WordPress and I had more than a few nasty fights. It’s possible I said some very mean things to my laptop on occasion. But with a lot of persistence, how-to demos, coffee refills, and a few very kind friends who knew programming (much love to Scott Admiraal and Justin Sailor), it slowly came together, and I got closer and closer to the day when I could share my little project with the world.
Which is when things got kind of terrifying.
I’d been talking my friends’ ears off about this concept and every little trial and victory along the way. But strangers? Real authors? Real publishing professionals? Oh dear. Suddenly the real implication of what I’d been messing around with became clear to me. All the blood, sweat and tears I’d poured into this were wasted unless I started sharing it with the world.
I was still able to put it off for a while. I ran myself through some unnecessary PR planning exercises (um, I work in PR), just pushing back the day I’d have to start acting on it. Tinkered with the site design … it was by no means perfect, so there was always something else I could find to do before I had to face the world.
Well, it’s still not perfect. I’m no programmer. And I’ll probably always have one or two things I’m trying to improve. But the key word there is always. I can’t put off launching it forever. Or else what’s the point?
Action is greater than perfection.
I’ve been following Jeff Goins’ 15 Habits of Great Writers series. Day 4’s theme was “Practice,”–in public. As in, take action. Go. Do. Share. Because the worst thing you can do is nothing.
I already knew it, but I desperately needed to hear it. I stared at this post and thought, enough is enough. It’s launch time. I announced the site’s launch then and there in the article’s comments, just a few days ago.
And it lit a fire under me and forced me into high gear. Over the last few days, I’ve started pitching guest posts, crafted my press release, launched the wordhaus Twitter account. The list of things yet to be done is monumental. But more of it is getting done now than I’ve accomplished on it for months.
Every retweet and encouraging word gives a small buzz. It’s thrilling and inspiring. And it makes me want more. Amazingly, sharing my creation with the world is fueling itself.